We are blessed and cursed to live in times in which most smart people are expected to have an opinion on zoning. Blessed, in that zoning is arguably the single most important institution shaping where we live, how we move around, and who we meet. Cursed, in that zoning is notoriously obtuse, with … [Read more...]
New Video: How Zoning Laws Are Holding Back America’s Cities
It's an understatement to say that zoning is a dry subject. But in a new video for the Institute for Humane Studies, Josh Oldham and Professor Sanford Ikeda (a regular contributor to this blog) manage to breath new life into this subject, accessibly explaining how zoning has transformed America's … [Read more...]
How Should We Interpret Jane Jacobs?
At first blush, the enterprise of interpreting the Jane Jacobs' work might seem like one best left to the proud and peculiar few, or to put it less charitably, those of us with nothing better to do. Yet the forces of history militate against this apathy: Jane Jacobs has emerged as quite possibly the … [Read more...]
Ch. 1 What is a City?: Up close and personal
One of the popular sports broadcasts I used to watch as a kid promised interviews with athletes that would bring them to you “up close and personal.” As I was once waiting in line to order coffee at one of my favorite local coffeehouses there were several people ahead of me. I followed the “barista” … [Read more...]
Cities are not man-made things
[In this space I’ll be posting quotes, ideas, and excerpts relating to a book I’m writing (thus far untitled), which I might describe as “What I have learned from the economic and social theory of Jane Jacobs.” My hope is to get thoughtful, informed feedback that will be useful in shaping the … [Read more...]
Why another book about cities?
The starting point for Jacobs’s analysis and the focus of much of her thought is the city, its nature and significance. There are plenty of books out there that in some way celebrate cities. Many describe cities as engines of economic development, wellsprings of art and culture, and incubators of … [Read more...]
Intro to Culture of Congestion
Welcome to the first post in Culture of Congestion! I’ll be posting quotes, ideas, and short essays relating to a book I’m writing, which I might describe as “What I have learned from the economic and social theory of Jane Jacobs.” My hope is to get thoughtful, informed feedback that will be useful … [Read more...]
The Disillusionment of the American Planner, or How We Became Mark Brendanawicz
Spoiler Warning: This post contains minor spoilers about Season Two of Parks and Recreation, which aired nearly 10 years ago. Why have you still not watched it?Lately I have been rewatching Parks and Recreation, motivated in part by the shocking discovery that my girlfriend never made it past … [Read more...]