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.
The problem with new American suburbs isn’t a "lack of planning" or “uncontrolled growth” or “inadequate infrastructure.” The problem is a lack of basic financial solvency.
We’ve been living for decades on the urban economic equivalent of anabolic steroids: it’s time for some good old-fashioned diet and exercise. The key is to reorient the way we approach growth. Instead of thinning out our cities and taking on more infrastructure liabilities, we need to wring real value out of the places we’ve already built.
We chose Memphis to kick off the Strong America Tour for a reason: the city is both an object lesson in what has gone wrong in American cities, and what could go right. And Memphis’s example helps us see why in places that are going to experience a renaissance, it’s going to come from the grassroots.
Most Americans have never lived in a time when “the inner city” wasn’t a locus of poverty, physical blight and social disintegration. Yet many of us fail to grasp the extent to which public policy had its thumb on the scale from the start in creating those conditions.
At Strong Towns, we have a lot of good things to say about the kind of places we built before the automobile era. Does that mean it’s really all just about nostalgia for a simpler time? Hardly.
California recently passed a statewide rent control bill. Will it protect tenants, alleviate the housing crisis, and strengthen communities? Or is it another massive #california intervention that will do little to clean up the mess made by the LAST massive intervention?
A leading infill developer in Victoria, BC is building beautiful homes that address the housing crisis and make neighborhoods stronger. They’re also changing the conversation about what’s possible.
In Seattle, policy victories tend to be long-fought and hard-won. What will it take to achieve a city that can flex, evolve, and meet its residents’ needs in a more organic way, without every change becoming an arduous political battle?
A remarkably diverse coalition of activists is moving the needle in Seattle on the question of who—and what—belongs in the city’s neighborhoods. And they’ve scored two big policy victories in 2019. Is it enough?
A new report on the interstate highway system from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences is not propaganda for the road-building industry. So why does it still read like it is?
We hear it everywhere we go: people want, and cherish, the kind of complete neighborhood where you can meet most of your daily needs within a 15-minute walk. What will it take to create more such places in North American cities and towns?
Tampa has an epidemic of leaking and bursting pipes. But don’t worry, the city’s taking action! …by proposing an eightfold increase in the amount it spends on maintenance for the next 20 years, half funded by new debt. How did we get to this point?
Love to hate congestion? We’ll never fix it by obsessing over speed or traffic delays. We need to rethink our whole transportation debate, starting with this premise: it’s not about how fast you can go. It’s about what you can get to.
Commuter rail stations in the San Francisco Bay Area should be some of the most valuable land in the region (and by extension, the world). So why are there so many parking lots and one-story buildings right next to them?
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.