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

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

Talk Is Action

To act in a new way, we must first see in a new way. I suspect most of us understand this, and yet, nearly all of us consistently undervalue the tools of vision, while proclaiming the virtues of action.

Many circumstances arise in which action is not helpful, wise, or even good; yet our culture—particularly […]

By |December 28th, 2012|Economics/Business, Futures, Innovation, Planetary Thinking|Comments Off

Density makes cities more affordable

In the middle of this piece on the transfer of development rights (a useful approach, in which a developer pays farmers not to develop their farms into subdivisions, and is given a height bonus in return by local government, allowing him or her to build a taller building), there sits this strange quote:

“Of course, […]

By |October 22nd, 2012|Cities, Economics/Business|Comments Off

Prior Art Conferences

I’ve long had a problem with patent trolls.

For those of you who haven’t encountered this species before, what they are is this: people who file patent claims on processes (usually in software) and then use those patents to extort money from people trying to create tools and services in related areas.


Let’s be clear […]

By |October 21st, 2012|Conferences and Talks, Economics/Business, Innovation|Comments Off

A Note on Strategic Urbanism

“Strategic urbanism” is a concept I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. It was brought to mind again by Adam Greenfield’s extremely interesting notes on Ed Glaser’s Triumph of the City.

In North America, in the broadest of strokes, we might classify our approaches to the challenges of urban growth over the last four decades […]

By |September 24th, 2012|Cities, Democracy, Economics/Business|Comments Off

Find the Money in Bright Green Cities

Here’s a quick note on what might be a great project for a group of young economists/ policy wonks.

It’s my considered opinion that bright green cities — cities that emphasize good urbanism, compact development, walkability, transit and bikes; green building and updated infrastructure; energy efficiency and climate adaptation — are likely to be substantially […]

By |September 21st, 2012|Bright Green, Cities, Economics/Business|Comments Off