So What Happens If the Delivery Trucks Don’t Come?

20171017_065436This past Labor Day, Paula and I did what so many Americans do over a sunny three-day weekend – we took a road trip. We had a wedding to attend in Austin and we thought we would make the most of it by dropping our kids off with the grandparents in San Antonio first. We had heard a few rumors floating around about a gas shortage following the devastation of Houston by Hurricane Harvey, but we noticed nothing unusual as we filled up the tank here in College Station and hit the road Friday evening for San Antonio. Now kid-free, we started out for Austin the following morning with half a tank of gas. We were surprised to see that the two gas stations on the corner were indeed out of gas but figured we would just stop further along the way instead. But the next station was out of gas too. And so was the next. And the next! After about an hour of this we started feeling a little panicky. If this continued on would we even be able to make it to the wedding? And what about the kids? Continue reading

A Lesson In Community

imageCall it a rookie mistake.

As a new blogger I know I still have a lot to learn and this past week I got served up quite a lesson. Just as I normally do, I developed my content and posted it on the website Reddit in a topic area where I thought it was most likely to attract attention. Normally when I do this I am gratified with a temporary spike in page views and some good feedback. Last Monday I got nothing. No hits, no referrals, nada. Now I know I’m no Keynes or Hayek but I thought that the economic effects of local currency would at least solicit a reaction from economists. A few days later I tried again, this time posting in another topic section, and again I got nothing. I messaged the moderator about it and found out, to my surprise, that I had been shadow banned from the site for spamming! Continue reading

A Place Worth Coming Home To

imageIn my last post I made the argument that in order to build a legacy, LeBron James needed to root himself deeply in community, to become as closely associated with Cleveland as Michael Jordan was with Chicago. Cleveland is LeBron’s home, and I think most of us were thrilled to hear that he will be returning this coming year. He explained his decision by reflecting on his deep ties to Northeast Ohio – ties so strong that four successful years with the Miami Heat weren’t enough to make him forget. LeBron is coming home.

LeBron’s story is a great example of the kind of migration that hometowns across the nation are experiencing. Continue reading

LeBron’s Legacy: A Place-Based Perspective

Growing up as a Connecticut native caught in the middle of the Boston-New York rivalry, one has to pick a side. Thanks to my Mom’s Boston roots, I learned early on that rooting for the Red Sox and Celtics is not for the faint of heart. Being ridiculed by championship-winning Yankee fans and watching the deterioration of the Celtics after Larry’s heyday was brutal, yet this dark night of the soul is the way true fans prove their mettle. Continue reading

Placemaking The Spaces In-Between

fencePlace matters, yet for most of us it’s hard to see how one can make a difference in this area. Between zoning and building codes, we often leave the built environment to developers and urban planners, figuring if real change is going to happen it’ll need to be big.

But what if that wasn’t the case? Continue reading

What Makes a Community?

imageMy most intense experience of community was college dorm life. At the University of Notre Dame, all dorms are single-sex and students have the opportunity to spend their entire undergraduate careers in the same building. Reflecting back on those years, I recognize six elements that I propose are foundational to community: Continue reading

The Farmers’ Market: Hipster Loitering or Legitimate Shopping Experience?

imageThis morning the Golbabai family visited a farmers’ market in an Austin mall parking lot. Similar to my mother-in-law’s recent discovery of the usefulness of Google, I find myself a tentative and extremely late discoverer of this Saturday morning phenomenon. As someone who is more comfortable at the supermarket, the farmer’s market provided an excellent on-the-ground opportunity to compare the localist values I aspire to and the globalist world I’m used to.

Some observations comparing the supermarket and the farmers’ market from the perspective of a consumer: Continue reading