Which Values in Value per Acre?

Before diving into this blog post, I ask you to take a minute to sit with these two images and ask yourself: Which place has greater value?

Did you feel any sense of inner conflict? Continue reading

Economics vs. Finance

imageOver the past few weeks, I have tried to make a very simple point: places have a strategic and economic interest in fostering locally-owned businesses. In addition to creating that unique charm and identity that attracts people and investment, locally owned businesses circulate more money within the local economy and help prevent money from leaking out in the first place. With these economic benefits (not to mention the social benefits associated with business ownership in close relationship with employees and customers), one would think that local governments in particular would be enthusiastic localists, engaging in policies that protect their own business communities from global forces hoping to filter local dollars to a corporate headquarters and on to stockholders worldwide. However, with few exceptions, local government has actively pursued exactly the opposite strategy: Continue reading

Presentation in Austin / Building Strong Towns

For those in the Austin area, this coming Friday (June 6th) I’ll be presenting to Austin Community Living on the “Economics of Community” thanks to my friend Rigel Thurnston. More information and RSVP information can be found at the events’ Meetup and Facebook sites. Looking forward to meeting and talking to you there!

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you an insightful talk I had the privilege of seeing in person at the 2014 Public Health and the Built Environment Conference in San Antonio. Continue reading

What is the Purpose of Our Economy?

imagePerhaps a good starting point for our discussion of “In what economy do we flourish?” is to ask the question, what is the purpose of our economy? While admittedly over-simplistic, I propose that there are four primary economic motivations:

  • To Make Money (Financially Driven): Let’s be honest, we all need to eat and for most of us money is the way we make that happen. As a former budget analyst who’s married to a CPA, I am not willing to understate the importance of money (especially as many people have fought and continue to fight valiantly for fair wag Continue reading