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How do I buy a House?

My wife and I are in the beginning stages of thinking about buying a house. This process for us looks a lot different than it did for my parents or grandparents. Millennials are facing the most overinflated housing market in recent history. Correction: it’s overinflated based on what is just and moral (and I’m goingContinue reading “How do I buy a House?”

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”

The R-Word

I digitally attended the Power of Ten summit of local governments in Middle Tennessee last Thursday. The speaker, Brent Toderian, gave a pretty hard-hitting presentation. One thing that stood out was his insistence that cities not be squeamish about using regulation to enforce desired outcomes. What’s interesting about this is that in conservative rural andContinue reading “The R-Word”

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”

An Alien Landscape

Alienation is a big topic nowadays. It’s not my purpose here to dive into its myriad causes. I want to consider what part planning and land development play in this problem. We moved around a lot, so I grew up in several different houses. Most were rural, surrounded by woods and farmland, and some wereContinue reading “An Alien Landscape”

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”


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