Waypoint 002

We all need aids to navigation during our journey. Sometimes the waypoints are fixed and known; though often they are temporary and fleeting. Here are some of my current waypoints.


It isn’t lost on us that writing a climate-focused issue has a direct impact on the climate. There is some hypocrisy here, or at least vanity that what we have to say is worth the carbon and energy. I’m not here to debate that last part, but we did spend some time exploring our energy chain to see what our impact is. Below is our environmental impact, on a run of 500 issues. We are assessing different carbon extraction / sequestration services to offset this release. But wow, this whole sector just screams i am a scam.

ITEMCO2 in kg
Manufacture45.33 kg
Shipping from LON118.11 kg
Shipping product to you81.20 kg
Mailpiece creation64.96 kg
Per return letter10.00  kg
TOTAL319.60 kg


In racial disparities in housing politics  researchers Katherine Levine Einstein et al show that the people who show up to zoning meetings are richer, whiter, and more often own property then the community they reside, creating equity and inclusion problems. Even in highly diverse communities, meetings are dominated by whites who oppose new housing, potentially distorting the housing supply to their benefit.


The same group of researchers issued still muted: the limited participatory democracy of zoom public meetings which shows that participants in online forums are quite similar to those in in-person ones. They are similarly unrepresentative of residents in their broader communities, and similarly overwhelmingly opposed to the construction of new housing.


The US Environmental Protection Agency design system and logo by Chermayeff & Geismar, led by design director Steff Geissbuhler, is worth your time to review, and celebrate.


I implore architects to think about the value of big dumb boxes. They don’t need to be plain or ugly – SoHo is full of them – they just need to be easily adapted to evolving building needs.


Baby Boomers will eventually want to downsize their homes as their household size decreases. Arthur Nelson explores the mismatch between existing housing and possible future housing in the study, the great senior short-sale or why policy inertia will short change millions of america’s seniors. He identifies existing housing policy which might cause seniors to sell their homes at a perceived or actual loss.


Brigitte Geißel and Pamela Heß write in determinants of successful participatory governance: the case of local agenda 21, and find that dialogue-oriented procedures of local municipalities only works if the municipality is strongly committed to participatory involvement of their citizens and if it has invested in staff and support to carry out the aims of its’ citizens.


I keep thinking about how there was a grassroots political organization in the 1970’s called Committee To End Pay Toilets In America which was the driving force in eliminating all pay toilets across America. Resulting in functionally eliminating all public toilets in America, because municipalities were loath to provide these as a safe service.


In a new paper entitled, New Evidence On Redlining By Federal Housing Programs In The 1930s by Fishback et al, the authors find that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), from its inception in the 1930s, did not insure mortgages in low income urban neighborhoods where the vast majority of urban Black Americans lived. Meaning the infamous Redline maps (above) had less impact than original racist lending by the FHA in the 1930’s. 


New evidence from during the pandemic that the increase in home prices was driven by demand, as supply (or lack thereof) was a minor part. Elliot Anenberg and Daniel Ringo and write in Volatility In Home Sales And Prices: Supply Or Demand? how sensitive the housing market is to changes in mortgage rates. If we want builders to be able to produce a wider-range of housing types – to match the actual variation of American family units – then we need the FHA and Freddie/Fannie to offer a wider range of mortgage packages for multifamily homes, small units,  live-work, co-housing, ADU’s etc.


I think a lot about this new seven floor residential building in my backyard. It’s designed by Dieguez Fridman and Beyer Blinder Belle. You are looking at a south-facing facade with zero outside shading. Which means that it’s at least 63 feet of uninterrupted and unshaded glass, where the heat of the sun bakes the occupants and increases the air conditioning load. The designer locked-in 50-plus years of unnecessary cooling because they decided they couldn’t add exterior shading, or an alternative facade design. 

This is bad.

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These waypoints come from our second issue – Scorching – which is still for sale. Please support local journalism and purchase your copy today!