Daniel Herriges has been a regular contributor to Strong Towns since 2015 and is a founding member of the organization. Daniel is a Master's student in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Minnesota. His obsession with maps began before he could read. His budding environmentalism can be traced back to age 4, when he yelled at his parents for stepping on weeds growing in sidewalk cracks. His love of great urban design and human-scaled, livable places has also been lifelong. Daniel has a B.A. from Stanford University in Human Biology with a concentration in Conservation and Sustainable Development. After college, he worked as an environmental activist for several years, in support of indigenous people's rights and conservation in the Amazon rainforest. He can often be found hiking or cycling. Daniel is from St. Paul, Minnesota.
There is arguably no place where half a century of suburban growth has more resembled a giant Ponzi scheme than in Florida.
A reliance on federal funding for housing puts local entities at the mercy of distant decision makers whose priorities may or may not be aligned with theirs. Cities and advocacy groups should be thinking about how to re-localize and claim more control over the way we tackle these problems.
NIMBYs are responding to a set of very rational incentives. That presents a challenge for those of us who hope to alter the course of the Suburban Experiment.
In this special edition of the Strong Towns podcast, we bring you a short interview with Daniel Herriges, a Strong Towns contributor who wrote an essay for our new book, Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volume II.
This suburb is a growing place, but it's not a successful place. It has almost no chance of becoming fiscally productive, environmentally sustainable, or a prosperous community full of upwardly mobile individuals and families. It risks becoming, instead, an increasingly isolating place full of people who are cut off from the economic mainstream.
The state of Florida went all-in on the suburban experiment in a way that few other places did. Overbuilt and half empty, many Florida suburbs will never climb out of debt and decline.
The recipe for a successful residential street is simple, timeless, and requires very little costly engineering.
One historic home at a time, St. Paul, MN is demonstrating how a critical mass of Strong Citizens can be an incredible asset to a troubled area, and how local government can play a constructive role in the incremental revitalization of such an area.
Our perception of Americans' housing preferences is distorted by the fact that we really have very few options available to us. Like our cable TV packages, our housing choices are "bundled," and many types of neighborhoods that might combine the things we actually love about urban and suburban environments are scarce, nonexistent, or outright illegal to build.
Life in the exurban fallout zones of the housing crisis is precarious. Overbuilt and half empty, many suburbs will never climb out of debt and decline. Federal housing policies put them in this place.
Creating a diverse mix of options to reduce car dependence incrementally is a sensible short-term goal of a robust transportation policy. We can make better cities by increasing the size and number of neighborhoods in which it's possible for the average person to live partially—not completely—car free.
Scranton, Pennsylvania is not a wealthy place, but it is a place with underappreciated intrinsic wealth. Bet on older mid-size cities like Scranton, whose built-in advantages leave them well-positioned to weather future economic disruption.
In an era of looming economic, social, and environmental disruption, the urban planning profession needs to be talking less about how to make cities efficient and attractive and more about how to make them resilient to the worst-case consequences of our actions. This is where Strong Towns thinking fits in.
San Francisco's Mission District is an example of everything that makes a Strong Town work: incremental development, urbanism oriented to people rather than cars, a deeply rooted local economy, and a distinctive sense of place. It's also in peril because of decades of collective failure to allow more places like it to be built.
Urban environments full of fine-grained detail, hidden nooks and crannies and narrow passages are memorable, lovable places that stimulate our sense of play and adventure. They are a way to use land more intensively and productively without building monolithic, outsized developments. A historic artists' colony nestled in a residential neighborhood in Florida provides an example.
St. Paul's River Balcony project is a refreshingly incremental and promising approach to creating new public space and reconnecting the city's downtown with the Mississippi River. It has the potential to demonstrate the power of pragmatic planning in small steps toward a grand vision.
The decision to pursue a career in urban planning: what's the value of it in a world where we acknowledge the fundamental complexity and unmanageability of cities? Planners as the conservation biologists of the urban ecosystem.
A Strong Town is a resilient or antifragile town: one that can weather unforeseen disruptions to its economy, society, and environment. Building Strong Towns means creating the conditions for experimentation and being comfortable with the lack of a road map for what the future will look like.
How can Strong Towns grow into a movement which brings about transformative change, not tinkering around the edges?
Monday Member Blog Digest: Identifying places of real versus illusory value. What is a "bad neighborhood" anyway? What is the best use of land under or next to an urban freeway? The bright future of the Midwestern "Rust Belt," and why the past isn't a good guide to the future when it comes to real estate values. Neighborhood churches as an urban litmus test. Thoughts on Pope Francis's message re: cities and urbanism. Block parties and red tape. A victory for cyclists in South Florida. When to put your time and energy into an idea when you have more of them than you can effectively advocate for.
Monday News Digest—the latest and greatest from Strong Towns members' blogs! How to responsibly be a small-scale developer in a community on the rebound from blight and neglect—and how large-scale development money can arrest organic revitalization. Countering negative stereotypes of cities. Finding the middle-ground between "pro-" and "anti-development" political camps. Correcting perverse incentives from government structure, regulation and tax policy.
The best from Strong Towns members' blogs this week: Hawaii's "Lava People"—experimental housing in a minimal-regulation environment. The appeal of location vs. "unlocation." What makes people identify with the urban environment? The future of the corner store. When to use TIF. Pros and cons of regional consolidation of government. Dallas from a hotel's -eye-view. Unorthodox citizen participation tactics.