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Helping Low-Income Homeowners Become Landlords in Denver

Helping Low-Income Homeowners Become Landlords in Denver

A pilot project in Denver aims to help low-income homeowners add accessory dwelling units to their property. If it succeeds, it will help people remain in their communities, build wealth, and deliver affordable homes to a new generation of neighbors.

A Texas-Sized Pavement Problem

A Texas-Sized Pavement Problem

Collin County, Texas officials claim they need $12.6 billion for new roads in the next 30 years, and none of it for maintenance of what they’ve already built. That way lies madness.

Can You Build a Resilient Place from the Ground Up?

Can You Build a Resilient Place from the Ground Up?

Can a master-planned community be consistent with Strong Towns principles of iterative, bottom-up placemaking? We take a tour of Serenbe, Georgia, an experiment in New Urbanism and eco-conscious living on the far outskirts of Atlanta.

Right-Sizing Akron's Kenmore Boulevard

Right-Sizing Akron's Kenmore Boulevard

Akron, Ohio is tackling its stroad problem, one oversized boulevard at a time. “Right-sizing” this neighborhood main street will make it safer and more inviting and hospitable for small businesses.

Austin's Bad Party: The Failure of CodeNEXT

Austin's Bad Party: The Failure of CodeNEXT

Austin’s CodeNEXT process, a dramatic overhaul of the city’s zoning code, tried to placate multiple constituencies with a “grand bargain.” The result was a draft code that satisified almost no one and failed to solve the city’s housing and growth challenges.

Everyone Loses in Missouri's Tax-Subsidy Wars

Everyone Loses in Missouri's Tax-Subsidy Wars

Using tax incentives to subsidize retail is a lose-lose game that St. Louis's suburbs, desperate for short-term revenue, have been playing for too long. University City is mortgaging its future and selling out its small businesses with a $70 million subsidy for big-box development.

If You're Going to Allow ADUs, Don't Make It So Hard to Build One

If You're Going to Allow ADUs, Don't Make It So Hard to Build One

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a quintessentially Strong Towns approach to urban growth and affordability issues: bottom-up, decentralized, incremental, scalable and adaptable. Unfortunately, a litany of restrictions often makes them an unappealing option even where allowed.

Your City Isn't Changing as Fast as You Think

Your City Isn't Changing as Fast as You Think

The belief that we’re going to radically transform our cities from the top down defies reality. Despite widespread anxiety about urban growth and change, the vast majority of places aren’t changing very much at all.

A Tax-Incentive Race to the Bottom Won't Make Texas Strong

A Tax-Incentive Race to the Bottom Won't Make Texas Strong

Texas has a history of aggressively using tax incentives to lure big business: a misguided economic development approach that produces little if any public benefit. Dallas’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters falls right in line with this unfortunate pattern.

Impact Fees Don't Mean Development Is Paying for Itself

Impact Fees Don't Mean Development Is Paying for Itself

Development impact fees are supposed to “make development pay its own way.” But if your development pattern is fundamentally unproductive, they don’t. They’re a one-time cash hit in exchange for taking on a permanent liability.

The Catch-22 of Retrofitting the Suburbs

The Catch-22 of Retrofitting the Suburbs

Two large development projects currently working their way through the public engagement and approvals process illustrate why suburban retrofit is a really tough proposition to stake our future on.

The Activation Energy of a Walkable Place

The Activation Energy of a Walkable Place

Is it magical thinking to expect the transition from car-dependent to walkable places to happen organically? When, and how, do we need a catalyst to jump-start that process?

The Road Ahead for Cobb County

The Road Ahead for Cobb County

Cobb County, Georgia, has long been all-in on debt-fueled, unsustainable growth, and faces a tough road ahead as poverty grows and its ability to provide services declines. What are some rational responses to this predicament?

Shut Out of Housing Gains

Shut Out of Housing Gains

Homeownership is supposed to be the path to wealth and a comfortable retirement, but for millions of Americans, it never was. One central reason is that we’ve embraced a development pattern in which new places cannibalize the wealth of old places.

Toll Road or No Road?

Toll Road or No Road?

Those who benefit from an investment should pay for it. If they're unwilling to pay what it actually costs, it's a good sign that the project should never have happened in the first place.

“Why Are Developers Only Building Luxury Housing?”

“Why Are Developers Only Building Luxury Housing?”

"Developers in my city are only building luxury housing. They're not building anything that ordinary people can afford." If you’ve said this lately, or heard someone else say it, here are five possible reasons why.