2018 Year-in-Review

For all the tumult that 2018 brought, the world remains an interesting place. I was glad to write about a few corners of it, and I am pleased to present a few of my highlights, …

Beating the Amazon Con

In short, cities should quit wasting money on corporate welfare and, if they’re going to proactively pursue economic development programs (itself a measure of dubious value), they should stick to homegrown assets. The pursuit of Amazon in particular, though, was as ironic as it was perverse.

New General Plan Seeks to Banish Stockton’s Demons

Not long ago, the City of Stockton could hardly have paid for the paper to print a new general plan, much less actually craft the plan. Since the city declared bankruptcy in 2012 after a long slide, its finances have changed for the better. A new general plan update seeks to do the same for the city’s built environment.

The Clarity of Robert Venturi

Robert Venturi, who died last week at 93, was not an urbanist as such. But in rejecting modernism and bringing honesty to discussions about aesthetics, Venturi deserves a debt of gratitude from planners and other architects alike.

Opportunity Zones Look Promising For California

The federal Opportunity Zone program promises, according to supporters, to direct tens — and possibly hundreds — of billions of dollars of private investment capital into some of the nation’s most needy communities, including over 800 Census tracts in California.

Suit Attacks Greenhouse Gas Scoping Plan in Name of Social Justice

A coalition of advocacy groups has filed a quixotic, aggressively worded lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board’s 2017 AB 32 Scoping Plan, claiming in part that its encouragement of VMT reductions and other strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will unduly restrict development of new housing and victimized poor and minority residents of California.