Best Articles Lists

This is a list of some of my all-time favorite posts from around the interwebz. I feel all of these merit a reading. Below each link is a comment about why I feel each link has merit.

  • It's time to stop saying "gentrification", Capn' Transit, 2015-10.
    I strongly believe it is unhelpful when we debate narratives - which ultimately are about identity and blame - rather than debating issues. This post gets to that point like no other. Debates centering on narratives tend to devolve into discussions about defining the narrative rather than focusing on the real world - they become something more akin to a literary exercises than to civic engagement.
  • A new look at neighborhood change, City Lab. 2016-04-21
    In short, the summarizing quote says it all: "Concentrated poverty is a bigger problem than gentrification." We need to address the problems, and narrative gets in the way. This is not a new insight, the same thing has been discovered before: Gentrification and Displacement New York City in the 1990s (circa 2004). Poverty is something America needs to take much more seriously. Poverty and economic decline deserve far more bandwidth then they receive; it should be economics drowning out the other issues, not vice versa.
  • ‘Normal America’ Is Not A Small Town Of White People, FiveThirtyEight, 2016-04
    "Normal" is an enormously powerful concept. One doesn't have to read much American civics content to notice that everyone considers themselves politically "centrist" and everyone considers themselves "middle-class"; in other words: (Normal = Me). In a culture so ironically obsessed with both conformity and individuality seeing what is normal is important. If the facts about normal are not constantly put forward the conversation will naturally drift towards the arealistic image of the world each person defaults to; myself included. The short post "There Is No Such Thing as the 'Traditional Male Breadwinner'" also gets at this point. I admit both of these posts address the default image of the world held by middle-class white Christian [or post-Christian] individuals - but that is both me - and it is the most privileged/powerful group in America. It is the group, IMNSHO, most in need of a smack-down concerning their normativity. Who has not attended a public meeting where a white baby boomer stood up to inform the entire room what "everyone" [or "nobody"] does or does not do, or does or does not want? "everyone"/"nobody" being quite transparently used as a term for "myself".
  • How Much Does Your Car Commute Actually Cost?
    Our times are defined by economic anxiety - yet it appears, at the same time, very few people are willing to address our economic situation directly. The squeeze on the "Middle Class" is real, and it is comprised of many forces. While the type of many of those forces - automation, globalization, etc... - are big picture leaving people feel powerless and overwhelmed perhaps some of the forces are local, cultural, and easily squelched? At the same time the "Middle Class" is squeezed the average size of a new home continues to grow, investment in infrastructure ranges from weak to negative, and sprawl continues. All these local policies and design patterns suppress economic growth; the very thing the "Middle Class" depends on. We need to rethink the American Dream - is it a fenced in 2.5 acres and an automobile for every adult - or is it a beautiful safe place to live, financial security, and retirement? Does everyone really need so much space? Or is what they need quality space? Because in the 21st century, quality is significantly cheaper than quantity.