MEMBER NEWS DIGEST - THE LATEST AND GREATEST FROM OUR MEMBERS' BLOGS
This week should be renamed the Johnny show, because Johnny Sanphillippo of Granola Shotgun has delivered so much great content this past week.
First up, The Green House. This unorthodox blog post (controversial topics is nothing new for Granola Shotgun) tells the the story of a couple who immigrated from San Francisco to Hawaii to build a shelter made from a commercial greenhouse kit from Holland. In this case, the green label is quite literal, but the shelter also puts 'green' back in its owners pockets insofar as it has withstood economic hardships and hurricanes, while being relatively cheap to operate. The third meaning of the label "Green House", that of environmentally sound building practice, may be more debatable, but that's what the comments section is for.
It’s been thirteen years and the greenhouse has survived two hurricanes. With no mortgage and minimal expenses they were able to ride out the economic crash of 2008 better than most people. While the house is in a remote location there’s still plenty of community. Local families and neighbors look out for each other in farm country. And the landscape continues to mature and improve. This is a radically different set of arrangements than working a nine to five job and paying a mortgage and HOA assessments on a condo in the city.
In story #2, Granola Shotgun discusses the discontents in the Bay Area with regard to land use: Stack and Pack vs. Smear all Over. Kevin Klinkenberg provides a good summary of some of the issues raised in his blog comment. Make sure to also read his article on sprawl retrofit and follow his blog:
You’re right to want something else, and that something else is the system that actually produces small-scale urbanism gradually. I wrote about this a bit last week in regards to sprawl retrofit.
In essence, we’ve set up finely-tuned systems that produce bigness. And bigness is the antithesis of the kind of urbanism you’re talking about. And incidentally, there’s lots of room here for cross-political support, since a substantial amount of conservative thinking is opposition to bigness as well. The old line that big government and big business love each other is quite true in reality.
Can you blame them for opposing growth when these are the only outcomes?
And lastly this week from Granola Shotgun, Johnny highlights an obscure outpost where it's still possible to build small scale incremental urbanism (read: what we desperately need to do more of).
But it’s important that there be a new cheap lightly regulated place somewhere down the road where a new group of pioneers can stake a claim and start the process up all over again. And that’s where America comes up short. We just can’t tolerate the messiness of the early stages of incremental urbanism. We want everything to be neat and perfect right from the beginning. And this is at the heart of our housing crisis.
Stages of incremental building
Oh: If you're interested in literally building Strong Towns, developing the small scale urbanism we talk about so much, check out R John Anderson's blog, "RJohnTheBad". He has done it and is doing it, along with a great group of individuals. Coming soon: The Small Developer bootcamp. This is going to fill up fast, so get signed up today!
PEDS is running a campaign with a simple message: SLOW DOWN. These signs are being distributed in neighborhoods to send a message to drivers who treat the neighborhood street like a highway. Of course, these signs wouldn't be necessary had the street been designed properly to begin with. But as a tactical first step to getting people to care, this is a simple action that we can take.