Daniel Herriges serves as Content Manager 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.
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.
Don't be seduced by the "signature project" that takes 20 years to complete, when there's huge basket of small projects you could hit the ground running on. That's a wildly different approach than anything our transit agencies or federal transportation funding mechanisms are set up for. But it's a more promising one.
Richmond, Virginia’s proposed Navy Hill redevelopment would reinvent 10 blocks of the city’s core out of whole cloth, aiming for greatness in one fell swoop. The top-down, master-plan approach to city building is seductive. But it is also fragile.
The discipline of not acquiring more until we've wrung true value out of what we already possess can make our lives richer and fuller. And this is a lesson we need to apply to our cities as well.
In cities all over America, we deter people from revitalizing neighborhoods by punishing them with higher taxes for improving their property. A change in how we tax property could fix these incentives.
Even the fastest-growing cities have them: under-utilized lots in the center of town whose owners don’t want to develop, but also don’t want to sell. Often, the property tax code rewards this kind of land speculation.
Academic evidence doesn’t do much to shift public opinion about housing policy. What’s missing is trust—and cultivating that requires a different approach.
The answer might not be what you expect.
Your daily commute sucks. Is it also making you go broke?
California’s high-speed rail project appears indefinitely on hold. What is the opportunity cost of all the things the state hasn’t done during the decade-plus its leaders have spent fixated on this?
The proposed Green New Deal is ambitious and urgent—but completely omits any mention of local land use. Can sweeping federal policy mix with the kind of decentralized, bottom-up change we need?
All over North America, poor neighborhoods often punch above their weight when it comes to contributing real value and resilience to their cities—in both financial productivity and other, less quantifiable strengths.
Why are we still surprised when a highway closes and fears of traffic pandemonium don’t come to pass?