• Transforming a ‘barracks’ into a neighborhood

    Connecting housing by using a neighborhood pattern improves the lives of moderate-income residents.
    Born as a public housing tract on Milwaukee’s northwest side, Westlawn Gardens was originally developed in the 1950s to provide affordable dwellings for families. Referred to as “barracks housing,” the site’s buildings were inefficient, undersized for many families in need, and isolated residents...Read more
  • Old buildings are made for you and me

    From California to the New York Islands—more business activity, affordability, and diversity can be found in neighborhoods with a range of old and new buildings.
    In a historic assets study of unprecedented scale, the National Trust for Historic Preservation looked at 50 cities in the US, examining more than 10 million buildings of all ages. Old buildings, and a diversity of scale and ages of buildings in a neighborhood, translate to more jobs and affordable...Read more
  • The good news on desegregation

    The data shows that neighborhoods across America are becoming more racially diverse—despite some reports of persistent segregation.
    Its rare that some obscure terminology from sociology becomes a part of our everyday vernacular, but “tipping point” is one of those terms. Famously, Thomas Schelling used the tipping point metaphor to explain the dynamics of residential segregation in the United States. His thesis was that white...Read more
  • Place and the displaced

    Two very different issues—America’s displaced, and the world’s displaced—both scream for the same response. Our leaders today, unlike 80 years ago, don't understand the relationship between city building, housing for all, and political power.
    The impulse to write this occurred while I was teaching at the University of Rome last year, at a moment when the refugee nightmare was dominating the news with horrible mass drownings off the Italian coast. It was also the time when the annual meeting of the International Seminar for Urban Form,...Read more