The Berkeley BART Rotunda and Historic Preservation’s Role in Change

Transportation planners in Berkeley propose to destroy the iconic Downtown Berkeley BART Station Rotunda. This is a terrible idea.

It may be a little strange to some of my newer readers to hear me advocating against a transit project. I am generally a proponent of change in our cities. It’s especially important not to give […]

By |January 6th, 2014|Buildings, Cities, Design|Comments Off

Reboot the Civic Sphere

“To have great poets, Walt Whitman wrote, “there must be great audiences.” Whitman recognized that great creativity is always a co-creation. The expectation of great work inspires that great work, and the sharing of great work primes an audience to appreciate its taste and expect more of it.

Governments and citizens grow together in the […]

By |October 17th, 2013|Cities, Democracy|Comments Off

Much better development, made much easier

A question I often get asked when I talk about the need to build in booming cities to build a lot more housing, quickly, is “What about quality?” Here are a few quick thoughts.

Concern for the quality of new development represents a civic virtue. I favor buildings that make a city more beautiful, and […]

By |October 14th, 2013|Buildings, Cities, Innovation|Comments Off

Why we need development with scope, scale and speed to make our cities work

A few thoughts about the scope, scale and speed of urban change, taken from another context:

I’ve been open about my judgment that that building more housing is the key to making housing affordable, and that housing affordability is the most important social justice issue in in thriving cities.

But I haven’t talked much about how […]

By |October 12th, 2013|Cities, Economics/Business, Housing, Walksheds|Comments Off

Too little housing, not land speculation, is what’s really driving up rents.

A note on speculation, taken from a comment I made elsewhere…

Speculation is simply a bet that demand will outstrip supply and thus drive up the price of the investment in question. That, too, is basic economics. There *are* situations where speculation sends a signal to others that prices will rise, and so those […]

By |October 12th, 2013|Cities, Economics/Business, Housing|Comments Off

Peak Gentrification

Cities won*.

The urban revival — as we called it back in the day, when cities still seemed patients with uncertain prognoses — is now history. Cities are not only alive, they’re booming. All around the world, people are moving from countryside to town, from small city to larger city, and (here in North America) from […]

By |October 7th, 2013|Cities|Comments Off

Why You Want to Live (and Invest) in Low-Carbon Cities

Here’s a simple fact I haven’t seen written up well elsewhere, so thought I’d cover briefly: cities with high emissions are less competitive in a carbon-constrained world. High emissions risk economic decline.

Here’s why. Climate emissions will inevitably cost more, significantly more, within your the next couple decades, despite today’s political opposition to carbon taxes […]

By |September 4th, 2013|Carbon neutrality, Carbon Zero, Cities, Economics/Business|Comments Off

A few rough thoughts on the 1:1 map that is your city

“In that Empire, the Cartographer’s art achieved such a degree of perfection that the Map of a single Province occupied an entire City, and the Map of the Empire, an entire Province. In time, these vast Maps were no longer sufficient. The Guild of Cartographers created a Map of the Empire, which perfectly coincided […]

By |March 14th, 2013|Cities, Design, Innovation|Comments Off

How to see nature in a city

(Some rough notes about nature in cities…)

Urbanization is now the dominant reality of humanity on Earth, and will grow ever more so over this century (and humanity is of course by far the most impactful driver of change on this planet). So if we care about the natural working of this world, we must […]

By |March 6th, 2013|Cities, Ecosystems|Comments Off

The Future of Sustainable Cities Radio Interview

I had an absolutely lovely conversation with Angie Coiro the other day for her radio show, In Deep. We discussed the future of cities, how our ideas about sustainability are changing and what to be optimistic about.

You can listen here:

By |February 21st, 2013|Cities, Conferences and Talks, Uncategorized|Comments Off