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Sanphillippo

Eating Jell-O With Chopsticks

Eating Jell-O With Chopsticks

Trying to navigate opaque bureaucracies, just to get permission to build something that used to be legal everywhere, is like eating Jell-O with chopsticks: tedious and unsatisfying. No wonder people find pragmatic work-arounds instead.

How is Apartment Renovation Like Beekeeping?

How is Apartment Renovation Like Beekeeping?

Bringing a neighborhood back from the brink of ruin, one building at a time, is hard, thankless work—like raising bees when you could just go buy a jar of honey. But when it works, each successful project helps “pollinate” the surrounding area with the seeds of revival, in a virtuous cycle.

Form Without Function in Public Housing

Form Without Function in Public Housing

The newer generation of public housing projects offer a superficially pleasant facsimile of a New Urbanist neighborhood. But these are places built all at once, to a finished state, and deeply dependent on fragile institutional arrangements.

Easy Payments

Easy Payments

The allure of a silver-bullet economic development project is like that boat you buy for a low, low down payment. You know, the one that ended up sitting in your driveway under a tarp for years. Just ask Memphis.

The Infrastructure Long Play

The Infrastructure Long Play

Our collective willingness to maintain infrastructure that has outlived its economic rationale will evaporate in due course. Only the truly productive bits will survive the fullness of time.

Methodist Urbanism: Ocean Grove

Methodist Urbanism: Ocean Grove

One of the reasons Ocean Grove, New Jersey has endured intact is the presence of a religious community that had a higher calling and a longer event horizon than the dominant secular culture. There are lessons to be learned here even by people who may not identify with the church.

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Our current institutions are in the process of failing and are unlikely to be reformed. Once the dust settles, we’ll create new institutions and a fresh cultural consensus that respond to pressing needs on the ground.

The Apartment Complex

The Apartment Complex

Affordable housing can take many shapes and show up in surprising places. These places aren’t subsidized or government-run, but they house millions of Americans.

Bozeman: A Blessing and a Curse

Bozeman: A Blessing and a Curse

Bozeman is becoming the new frontier for tech workers who don’t want to slog it out in the Bay Area. What does that mean for the city?

A Relentless Desire to Control

A Relentless Desire to Control

You can put up all the signs you want, but your community will still be vulnerable to a myriad of external shocks.

The Californians Are Coming!

The Californians Are Coming!

Housing options become even more scarce when the value of property is no longer tethered to the local labor market.

The Airport Lounge School of Economics

The Airport Lounge School of Economics

The housing crunch leads families to make hard trade-offs in order to live affordably. A quick chat in an airport lounge reveals some unique examples.

Shovel Ready

Shovel Ready

The rise of technology is slowly emptying out our malls and business parks. They could be put to better use... if we actually wanted to solve the problem.

The Hippie Jesus Convergence

The Hippie Jesus Convergence

As a nation, we have multiple, profound predicaments that we need to come to grips with. This isn’t going to end well if we don’t pull together.

My Reno Epiphany

My Reno Epiphany

Your town isn’t a dress rehearsal. This is it, folks.

Mont Saint-Michel on the Prairie

Mont Saint-Michel on the Prairie

The way we finance new developments in suburban communities is one giant Ponzi Scheme, but no one seems to realize how doomed the whole thing is.