Urbanism, culture, idiosyncrasy.

I write daily about urbanism, land use, suburbs, small towns, and the built environment in general. I’m not a planner or engineer; I think a lot about how ordinary people perceive and react to urban design, and I explore places as a layman, but with a keen focus on detail. I also sprinkle in posts here on food and cooking, old technology, stores and retail, and commercial history.

The built environment is in some ways the most fundamental issue there is. It’s the physical setting of, well, everything. Yet many people don’t give it much thought, and zoning and urban planning can feel wonky, even irrelevant. Urbanism is also frequently coded as a “left-wing” area of concern, reinforcing an urban-rural or urban-suburban culture war.

This newsletter is all about pushing past these impressions and stereotypes, and conveying urbanism and the physical design of our places as a practical, human, and broad concern.

A few pieces that I consider a good introduction to the newsletter’s tone and breadth:

Northern Virginia Is a Real Place

Secondhand Supermarkets

The Curious Case of the Last Record Changer

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