Essay

“Counting to three” on planning and democracy

I have an interview up with Jess Gilbert today on Edge Effects about his new book, Planning Democracy. It’s probably evident from the interview how sympathetic I am to Jess’s argument that, when we look closely at the work of … Continue reading

Searching for Sylvester Baxter

In early January, I boarded the Orange Line at Downtown Crossing and headed north, bound for the newest stop in the Boston subway system: Assembly Square. I wasn’t going to Assembly for the novelty of a new train station—though I … Continue reading

This land is your land

The question of how to build a city is too often posed simply as a question of consumer desire and technical feasibility: what kinds of snazzy urban landscapes could we build for those who can afford to pay for them? … Continue reading

Arguing against the facts, and other affronts to fashionable opinion

On Sunday, Thomas Frank—who’s long been one of my favorite incorruptibles of the Old Left—unleashed a torrent of abuse on the class of Washington journalists who make up what he derisively terms the “data brigade.” It is roughly the same … Continue reading

Localism and the grassroots versus democracy

My old LTIL colleague Boyce Upholt flagged up an interesting article by Jonathan Chait about the “myth of localism:” that is, the misguided belief that local, decentralized governments are by their nature closer to the people than consolidated, centralized bureaucracies. … Continue reading