Car-Free in L.A.? Don't Laugh.

Car-Free in L.A.? Don't Laugh.

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.

How Nonprofits Can Start With Design to Build Strong Communities

How Nonprofits Can Start With Design to Build Strong Communities

Thor Erickson—a longtime leader in the neighborhood and civic nonprofit sector—shares how you can use nonprofits to build strong neighborhoods in your own community, including how to bring your unique perspective to neighborhood investment, how to partner with your local government, and how to get your community behind your mission.


How Urban Change is Like Ecological Succession

How Urban Change is Like Ecological Succession

Cities evolve like ecological systems—a neighborhood, like a forest, has a life cycle. The fundamental question of planning needs to shift from “Should our neighborhoods change?” to “How should our neighborhoods change?”

A Small City with Big Delusions

A Small City with Big Delusions

Pine Island, MN (population 3,000) has huge dreams, yet they can’t take care of their basic systems. Who pays the price?

What Happens When Housing Becomes a Cash Crop?

What Happens When Housing Becomes a Cash Crop?

Giorgio Angelini’s documentary Owned chronicles the commoditization of homeownership in the U.S. and its fallout—both for those who were left out, and for those who were sold promises that we’re now struggling to fulfill.

Overpaving Roads and Overeating Ice Cream

Overpaving Roads and Overeating Ice Cream

How much road does your city have—and how much does it actually have the money to maintain? We compare “calories in” to “calories out” before we binge on ice cream; what if we took the same approach to our infrastructure budgets? One city did, and here’s what they found out.

Top 5 Recent Stories (July 22–July 26, 2019)

Top 5 Recent Stories (July 22–July 26, 2019)

Why does modern architecture so often lack human-scale or comforting qualities—and what did World War I have to do with it? What would a real free market in urban development look like? Why are California cities’ latest efforts to produce more housing backfiring? This and more in our top stories of the past week.

6 Rules for Unlocking the Potential of Mid-Size Cities

6 Rules for Unlocking the Potential of Mid-Size Cities

Mid-size regions like Kansas City don’t have the affordability struggles of, say, a fast-growing Denver or Seattle: they have their own unique challenges instead. Here’s how the “natural” affordability of homes in these places can be turned into an opportunity for an urban renaissance.

We've Gotta Be Perfect

We've Gotta Be Perfect

“We’ve gotta be perfect. If a negligent driver kills someone, people see it as a necessary evil. But if a cyclist runs a red light, or a scooter hops onto a sidewalk alongside a busy street, we are just jerks driving crazy little vehicles with no regard for the law.”

The Unlikely Urbanism of a Flea Market

The Unlikely Urbanism of a Flea Market

This place is a work horse. It grows small businesses from scratch without recourse to bank loans or government subsidies. It provides products and experiences that are genuinely needed in the community. And it costs almost nothing to create.

Lessons in Traditional Development from Small Town Tennessee

Lessons in Traditional Development from Small Town Tennessee

Two small Tennessee towns reveal the mighty power of a traditional downtown square—even one that isn’t designed to achieve its full potential. It’s simply the most foolproof and financially productive style of development there is.

Why We Should Build Cities for Our Unconscious Brains

Why We Should Build Cities for Our Unconscious Brains

Traditional architecture has evolved through millennia of trial and error to harmonize with our unconscious impulses, make us feel comfortable and encourage positive social behavior. Modernism too often throws those lessons out the window—and one architect thinks the trauma of World War I had something to do with why.

Top 5 Recent Stories (July 15–July 19, 2019)

Top 5 Recent Stories (July 15–July 19, 2019)

When is it worth it to retrofit financially unproductive, auto-oriented places with walkable, mixed-use development? That dying shopping mall on the edge of your town? What about a brand new downtown for a sleepy bedroom community that never had one? This and more in our top stories of the week.