Johnny Sanphillippo has been a regular contributor for Strong Towns since 2014. He is an amateur architecture buff with a passionate interest in where and how we all live and occupy the landscape, from small rural towns to skyscrapers and everything in between. He travels often, conducts interviews with people of interest, and gathers photos and video of places worth talking about (which he often shares on Strong Towns). Johnny writes for Strong Towns, and his blog, Granola Shotgun.
PODCASTS Johnny IS FEATURED IN:
In a world where brick-and-mortor stores are increasingly hard to maintain and afford, mobile businesses fill an important niche for both business owners and consumers.
Stop fearing the end of civilization as we know it, and start learning from the people who have already experienced it.
A futuristic civic building still inspires awe, but that's muted by the changing suburban landscape around it.
Most people load themselves up with massive amounts of debt in order to live the way they believe they’re supposed to. But there's another option.
Ugliness isn’t the problem and newness isn’t any kind of solution.
We’ve got the built environment that we have and the overwhelming majority of it isn’t going to change.
The gazebo is a talisman designed to suggest a pretty illusion, but reality overwhelmed the dream.
Last year I engaged in a failed attempt to renovate an old house in Ohio. It ended badly. So I thought I’d do a follow-up on what actually does work given the legal parameters and cultural context.
Building after massive building now
By buying wholesome food in bulk directly from small family farms I’ve radically shortened the supply chain.
We’ve built too much of the wrong stuff in the wrong places and market demand may never catch up or reinvent these landscapes.
This video of Mississauga, ON shows us that density will not save the suburbs.
Last year I bought a $15,000 uninhabitable shack in Cincinnati, Ohio, hoping to renovate it into a nice two-story duplex for renters. Here's what went wrong.
Attempts to upgrade public transit by the central authorities in Los Angeles have been fought tooth and nail by residents, and illustrate why transit just doesn’t work when the local culture doesn’t want it.
There’s just no reason why a four-year college degree should cost anything like what it does. Here's a different model.
When you're faced with the choice of living in an urban neighborhood with "poor" schools, or a suburban neighborhood with "good" schools, you find a work around. That's what these entrepreneurial spirits did in San Francisco.
Does anyone think the folks in the $700,000 suburban homes would be living there in anything like their current circumstances if they had to pave their own roads and pump water up to their own homes? Does anyone believe these homes would be worth $700,000 without the heavily subsidized public infrastructure?
A new community center could've fallen victim to the typical auto-oriented public project pitfalls. Instead, local designers created a walkable, bikeable neighborhood amenity that is spurring fresh development.
Our de facto national housing policy of drive-till-you-qualify suburban development works well enough for people with an education and a professional salary. It fails the working class entirely and that’s by design.
Yes, many thriving places have attractive lawn furniture, tasteful signage, and abundant flowers. But adding those items to a place with fundamental flaws is just lipstick on a pig.
Toms River, NJ was built as a collection of convenient commodities and it will be discarded once it exceeds its usefulness.
Building after massive building now sit empty in towns across America. Yours is up next.
Strong Towns contributor, Johnny Sanphillippo kicks off our Antrifragile book club week with this critique of the antifragile concept and commentary on the challenges of actually implementing it
Do we want to make life easy on the experts, or make Detroit a better place that can also pay its bills?
My attempts to build a tiny home have been thwarted by a hostile regulatory environment at every turn. So here's what I did instead.
There’s a lot of talk these days about how Texas is the new California, but you need to take that concept with a grain of salt. It’s a short term phenomenon.
Neither raw commerce nor government bureaucracies can ever deliver the same quality results as a close-knit subculture. This is quite evident in the community kitchens of the Sikhs.
We need to read all of Jacobs’ books in order to put her more popular work into a larger perspective.
What we’re witnessing isn’t a modern aberration of multi-story buildings being imposed on the traditional city. It’s actually a return to the historic pattern after an odd twentieth century hiatus.
I have a unique perspective on the topic of the working class, the poor, and the homeless. It isn’t an abstraction for me. I experienced these things directly in my own life.