There used to be a big debate on the beautiful versus the sublime. Forest edges are usually beautiful. They do not usually include things like sheer cliffs or water that goes to the horizon. Those have an "awesome beauty" or “sublime” quality that puts one at least slightly on guard. Our ancestors usually sought out beautiful places and were appropriately on guard around the sublime or awe-inspiring.Read More
Sometimes problems are big and regulations are onerous. They are too much for a small business, small builder, or everyday homeowner. One approach, taken in Lean Urbanism, is to reduce regulations, or to make compliance easier. Another approach is to both cooperate and compete: cooperate to create a platform supporting each other, and then compete in a market.Read More
A good strategy for Lean might be to leverage the "normal" against the bureaucratic: where the bureaucratic disallows the norm, a bureaucracy is vulnerable. We need to prick the conscience. If someone can't build a business, build a home, build apartments for the middle class, and so on, that's not normal, and the bureaucracy is vulnerable. "Somebody" can be a builder, a businessperson, and especially (for political leverage) cultural-estate groups and homeowners.Read More
Steve Mouzon has written a very useful book for designers and builders (planners, etc.) who hope to capitalize on the web and social media. Steve asked many of us to review his book, and I took him up on it. I’ve already heard of slight revisions based on input, so what I read is the e-book equivalent of a “galley.” Apparently, something like 200 people agreed, so – following his book’s advice – I’ll limit my review to an area in which I think I can add value. For me, the central question is, “How should we approach social media?” That's second to "Who should buy this book?" I think there is a danger of becoming mercenary – and to his credit, I’m sure Steve would be horrified if that were to happen.Read More
In conversation with some people working on Lean, I've been thinking about a few rules for operating in a Lean fashion. They're entirely my own, but I think they have "legs."
Some general rules . . .Read More
Recently, Andres Duany has been floating the idea of "Lean Urbanism" publicly -- in Sarasota and High Point. While it isn't entirely clear what "Lean" might be, on-line discussions are starting to give it some form.Read More
Last August, I posted on codes and building types. As I mentioned, there are two main ways of doing codes. One is a matrix-based approach of clean categories, and the other is type-based. The type-based one tends to branch. A townhouse is a kind of house: a branch off the “house” trunk. A major advantage of this approach is that the code can refer to, in that instance, all houses, or just townhouses. It can prohibit all types of houses except townhouses. It’s an extremely supple and flexible way of working. It dovetails with the way that we talk and think about buildings and places.Read More