2017 Year-in-Review

Even if we disregard the cavalcade of whimsy in Washington, DC, plenty of fascinating things happened here on the West Coast. I was pleased to once again write about my share of them.

As usual, the bulk of my work — compiled in full on my website joshrstephens.net — appeared in the California Planning & Development Report, where we covered a tremendously interesting year in land use, often focusing on the need for housing and the many forces that frustrate its development. I was delighted to again contribute to Planetizen, Next City, Boom, and — new this year — Common Edge.

As always, I thank Bill Fulton, James Brasuell, Martin Petersen, Jason Sexton, Janine White, Ariella Cohen, and all of my other editors, readers, and critics for their support this year.

Coming up in 2018, this retrospective may be shorter — but it will, hopefully, be more substantial. That’s because I’m working on two books which, if all goes well, will come out in 2018. Both are compilations of existing material: blogs from CP&DR and elsewhere, and Volume I of Planners Across America, my interview series for Planetizen.

Please enjoy, send me news if you have it, and have a great 2018!

I enjoyed telling something of a yarn in my story on a proposed Sacramento gas station, chronicled the battle over Los Angeles’s Measure S in CP&DR and Next City, and got about as wonky as I get with a story on California’s new method of transportation analysis.

I wrote the first major review of Richard Florida’s The New Urban Crisis (and got props from Richard himself at the Lincoln Inst. journalists forum). Though I take no pleasure in eviscerating another writer’s work, I was proud to call out How To Kill a City for its stunningly dishonest account of gentrification. And the Gen Xer and Angeleno in me couldn’t resist the opportunity to write about Blade Runner.

Boom: A Journal of California gave me a chance to go way down memory lane, and I was delighted to join the stable at Common Edge Collaborative, a fantastic new online publication for thoughtful long-form commentary on architecture and urbanism, edited by Martin Petersen. At least two of my Common Edge pieces have been over a decade in the making. Better late than never!

I ranted about this and that in various blogs and op-eds, with a certain degree of love for the burgeoning “YIMBY” pro-housing movement and concern for some of the new tactics to oppose new development. And I mention a certain president once or twice.

My quest to interview the planning directors of the country’s 50 biggest cities continued this year with HoustonPortland, Ore.; Washington D.C.Mesa, Ariz (!); BaltimoreAlbuquerque; and Oklahoma City.