Urban Growth Boundaries

Go see my latest article over at Strong Towns: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2021/1/25/urban-growth-boundary It’s about how the urban growth “boundaries” we’ve established in Tennessee are really anything but that. It’s more of a technical article. Here I want to explore the issue from a different angle. I kind of want to talk about just how far we areContinue reading “Urban Growth Boundaries”

Planning in Public

In the postmodern era and beyond, public engagement has taken center stage in most theories of planning. The public often have opinions that planners either don’t agree with or don’t understand. These opinions are usually called “NIMBYism,” or Not In My Backyard-ism. The perpetual problem seems to be that people just don’t like change. AnyContinue reading “Planning in Public”

Nodes and Fringes

An article I wrote about suburban development patterns, infrastructure maintenance obligations, and tax revenue was published by Strong Towns yesterday, for which I’m very grateful. Here’s the link: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2020/8/10/i-did-the-math-on-my-towns-cul-de-sacs I wanted to pick up the thread at what I think the concrete solution is. Of course I subscribe to the Strong Towns idea of incrementalContinue reading “Nodes and Fringes”

The Siloed Life

My theory about the “back to the city” movement is that it’s another cultural manifestation of postmodernism. I contrast the focus we see in movements like the New Urbanism with the modernist planning paradigm (skyscrapers in garden parks separated from residential areas and strip commercial corridors by spaghetti junction limited access highways). I haven’t finishedContinue reading “The Siloed Life”

Legalism in Planning

I’ve seen several projects fall through after applicants (usually part-time developers or small business owners) realized how much red tape and bureaucracy they were going to have to wade through to get their approvals. For anyone that’s not familiar with land development, the regulatory review process is quite onerous. It’s designed for career engineering andContinue reading “Legalism in Planning”