Home Search: Finding Common Ground Between Urban & Rural

20170225_142413February has not quite come to a close and yet 2017 has already been interesting and exciting for the Golbabai family. Over the past few months, Paula and I have spent considerable time working on out next project – finding a house here in College Station. Not just any house, mind you, but the right place for us to raise our kids and put down roots. This search was especially difficult for the two of us because of our seemingly divergent tastes. As a new urbanist and city planner, I advocate for density, connectivity and walkability. Paula, on the other hand, regularly re-reads the Little House on the Prairie series, loves wide open spaces and has been researching the maintenance of backyard chickens.  Continue reading

Double Sided Mattresses & Our Planned Obsolescence Economy

20161210_1433221If you have had the pleasure of recently shopping for a mattress you don’t need me to tell you how overwhelming the experience is. Mattresses are difficult to test sufficiently prior to purchase and all the guarantees and warranties are confusing. But it is the shear number of options that is staggering. Do you want firm or plush? Foam or coil? Organic? Low chemical content? Well it is what is missing in this world of choices that hints at a disturbing truth embedded in our economic system. I’m excited to share with you today a post that has been percolating in the back of my brain for a few years now; a story that I simply walked into when I innocently walked into a mattress store. Continue reading

Accounting for Great Places

imageReading Wendell Berry’s The Gift of Good Land, I was struck by the simplest thought: that “local” is more than a philosophy; it’s a physical attachment to a particular piece of earth. In fact, that very attachment is what makes us “local” and distinguishes us from national organizations that don’t have the same allegiance. Those businesses untethered to place are generally more interested in financial gain than the long-term health of the community. If the location no longer serves their interests these parties can simply pick up and leave, to the further detriment of the city. Continue reading