Daniel Herriges serves as Senior Editor for Strong Towns, and has been a regular contributor since 2015. He is also a founding member of the organization. Daniel has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from 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, and now lives in Sarasota, Florida.
If your goal is to promote public safety, design streets for the humans you have, not the perfectly obedient ones you wish you had.
It’s easy to claim “We have too much parking” but to prove it? These Boston area planners were up to the challenge, surveying over 200 apartment buildings’ parking lots. What they found… might not shock you.
Los Angeles, where the car is famously king, may have one of the best shots of any American city of becoming a car-optional place at scale—not just in a few trendy neighborhoods lucky enough to have good transit. Here’s why.
San Bruno, California laid out a detailed blueprint for more housing. One developer followed that blueprint. $3 million and 3 years later, the city killed his project anyway.
Missing Middle development—anything from a duplex to a cottage court to a small apartment building—is an indispensable piece of the Strong Towns vision for cities that are resilient, adaptable, and can pay their bills. We need to revive a culture of building this way: here are 5 ways cities can start.
Those who are most comfortable with the status quo often demand that we exhaustively study any new policy for possible harmful side effects before taking action. But what if we applied the same scrutiny to the harmful side effects of not changing things?
There’s every reason not to build a freeway through a poor, mostly-black neighborhood in Shreveport, Louisiana. So why is the state government taking money away from needed maintenance to push this bad project forward?
The best judgments are made with a “scout” mindset—your job is to survey the terrain and understand it—rather than that of a “soldier” whose job is to win a battle (or an argument). A social scientist explains the difference.
The growing movement to end exclusive single-family zoning—as Oregon just did in its cities—is not a radical or untested experiment: it’s a return to a historical norm. The actual radical experiment is the strange notion that a neighborhood should be required to contain only one type of home.
Mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods have enduring appeal, are more financially productive than auto-oriented places… and we still don’t allow nearly enough of them to be built. A new study surveys the landscape of walkability in America’s large metropolitan regions.
Google wants to dedicate $1 billion to creating housing in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a big enough number to make a real dent, but will it help tackle the systemic issues driving the region’s housing crisis?
Most neighborhoods face a stark choice between the trickle or the fire hose: either virtually no new development or investment, or cataclysmic change that leaves a place unrecognizable. We need to get out of this destructive dichotomy.
We use the phrase “traditional development pattern” in dozens of Strong Towns essays. Here’s your one-stop-shop explainer article as to what that means.
Incrementalism is not an end in itself. It’s not about stubborn insistence on some sort of small-is-beautiful aesthetic for its own sake. Incremental development is a practical means to the end of resilient, financially sound places.
Fear of drastic change drives many people’s reservations about policies to reduce car-dependence, like eliminating parking minimums. The reality is that we can make a lot of incremental steps to make cars a bit less necessary, less of the time—and the differences between existing places on this front can provide a template.
We’ve destroyed so many traditional, human-scale neighborhoods in America that we tend to think of the ones that remain—like New Orleans’ famous French Quarter—as inherently exotic, the kind of place you love to visit but certainly wouldn’t live. Let’s stop treating timeless, great urban design like it’s only for tourists.
Our goal is to inspire millions of advocates to shout from the rooftops that our approach to growth and development has to change, until Strong Towns ideas become as ubiquitous as the air you breathe. There’s a long way to go, but we see it working.
I’m a member of the Strong Towns movement because I love the place I live, enough to want to change the destructive path it’s on. I know there are many thousands out there like me. Our movement needs you more than ever.
As a planner by training, I’m disappointed to see the American Planning Association parrot propaganda about the supposed need for a flood of new federal money for infrastructure. This approach is not conducive to good planning.
Many of the cities we live in are under intense economic, social, and environmental stress. But how do we start to change the local planning status quo when the public doesn’t trust planners or policy experts?
An interview with Steve Nygren, developer of Serenbe, Georgia, about how Serenbe is unlike conventional suburbia, and why Nygren thinks it holds lessons for how all of our communities could achieve a better way of life at a lower cost.
The drumbeat from the lobbying organizations behind Infrastructure Week is, as usual, that we need to build more in America—and it scarcely seems to matter what we build, where, or why. This view is as shortsighted and dangerous as ever.
A new study provides the first experimental evidence that better street lighting has a cause-and-effect relationship with reduced crime. Lighting is an example of the kind of low-cost, high-returning public investment that’s all around us… but that our cities too often ignore.
More than ever of what we make is produced with little thought to its durability. But what happens when we apply this mindset to the very communities we live in?
A bill that has passed the Florida Senate proposes to build over 300 miles of new toll roads deep into rural areas of the state. Proponents claim it’s necessary to prepare for coming population growth. They couldn’t be more wrong.
That high-end apartment building over there has nothing to do with the low-income families who need affordable housing over here, right? In fact, we’re all more connected than we tend to think—and a new study demonstrates this in a surprising way.
A deep, dredged ship canal is a recipe for catastrophic flooding in a hurricane, whereas a coastal marsh absorbs the surge of water in a way that lets life continue to flourish. This analogy has something important to teach us about urban streets.
A new Arkansas law prohibits cities from regulating the design of single-family homes in almost all instances. This is a bad idea which takes away an important tool in a city’s toolkit to nurture strong, productive places.
Forward-thinking developers are building communities that take into account the hidden long-term costs of suburban development, and offer a more resilient alternative. But what if that alternative results in homes that are too expensive to be within reach of most Americans? And does it have to?
Cars take up a lot of space. And one way or another, that imposes very real costs on our cities. New York just took an important step toward acknowledging and covering those costs.