Saturday, October 26, 2019

Walking as Creative Fuel

Walking as Creative Fuel

A splendid 1913 celebration of how solitary walks enliven “the country of the mind.”
Brain Pickings|
Maria Popova

Kenneth Grahame.

“Every walk is a sort of crusade,” Thoreau wrote in his manifesto for the spirit of sauntering. And who hasn’t walked — in the silence of a winter forest, amid the orchestra of birds and insects in a summer field, across the urban jungle of a bustling city — to conquer some territory of their interior world? Artist Maira Kalman sees walking as indispensable inspiration: “I walk everywhere in the city. Any city. You see everything you need to see for a lifetime. Every emotion. Every condition. Every fashion. Every glory.” For Rebecca Solnit, walking “wanders so readily into religion, philosophy, landscape, urban policy, anatomy, allegory, and heartbreak.”

Perched midway in time between Thoreau and Solnit is a timeless celebration of the psychological, creative, and spiritual rewards of walking by the Scottish writer Kenneth Grahame (March 8, 1859–July 6, 1932), best known for the 1908 children’s novel The Wind in the Willows — a book beloved by pioneering conservationist and marine biologist Rachel Carson, whose own splendid prose about nature shares a kindred sensibility with Grahame’s.

Five years after publishing The Wind in the Willows, Grahame penned a beautiful short essay for a commemorative issue of his old boarding school magazine. Titled “The Fellow that Goes Alone” and only ever published in Peter Green’s 1959 biography Kenneth Grahame (public library), it serenades “the country of the mind” we visit whenever we take long solitary walks in nature.

With an eye to “all those who of set purpose choose to walk alone, who know the special grace attaching to it,” Grahame writes:

Nature’s particular gift to the walker, through the semi-mechanical act of walking — a gift no other form of exercise seems to transmit in the same high degree — is to set the mind jogging, to make it garrulous, exalted, a little mad maybe — certainly creative and suprasensitive, until at last it really seems to be outside of you and as if it were talking to you whilst you are talking back to it. Then everything gradually seems to join in, sun and the wind, the white road and the dusty hedges, the spirit of the season, whichever that may be, the friendly old earth that is pushing life firth of every sort under your feet or spell-bound in a death-like winter trance, till you walk in the midst of a blessed company, immersed in a dream-talk far transcending any possible human conversation. Time enough, later, for that…; here and now, the mind has shaken off its harness, is snorting and kicking up heels like a colt in a meadow.

In a sentiment which, today, radiates a gentle admonition against the self-defeating impulse to evacuate the moment in order to capture it — in a status update, in an Instagram photo — Grahame observes:

Not a fiftieth part of all your happy imaginings will you ever, later, recapture, note down, reduce to dull inadequate words; but meantime the mind has stretched itself and had its holiday.

Art from What Color Is the Wind? by Anne Herbauts.

Nearly a century before Wendell Berry’s poetic insistence that in true solitude “one’s inner voices become audible” and modern psychology’s finding that a capacity for “fertile solitude” is the seat of the imagination, Grahame writes:

This emancipation is only attained in solitude, the solitude which the unseen companions demand before they will come out and talk to you; for, be he who may, if there is another fellow present, your mind has to trot between shafts.

A certain amount of “shafts,” indeed, is helpful, as setting the mind more free; and so the high road, while it should always give way to the field path when choice offers, still has this particular virtue, that it takes charge of you — your body, that is to say. Its hedges hold you in friendly steering-reins, its milestones and finger-posts are always on hand, with information succinct and free from frills; and it always gets somewhere, sooner or later. So you are nursed along your way, and the mind may soar in cloudland and never need to be pulled earthwards by any string. But this is as much company as you ought to require, the comradeship of the road you walk on, the road which will look after you and attend to such facts as must not be overlooked. Of course the best sort of walk is the one on which it doesn’t matter twopence whether you get anywhere at all at any time or not; and the second best is the one on which the hard facts of routes, times, or trains give you nothing to worry about.

In consonance with artist Agnes Martin’s quiet conviction that “the best things in life happen to you when you’re alone,” Grahame writes:

As for adventures, if they are the game you hunt, everyone’s experience will remind him that the best adventures of his life were pursued and achieved, or came suddenly to him unsought, when he was alone. For company too often means compromise, discretion, the choice of the sweetly reasonable. It is difficult to be mad in company; yet but a touch of lunacy in action will open magic doors to rare and unforgettable experiences.

But all these are only the by-products, the casual gains, of walking alone. The high converse, the high adventures, will be in the country of the mind.

Complement with poet May Sarton’s sublime ode to solitude, Robert Walser on the art of walking, and Thoreau on the singular glory of winter walks, then revisit Rebecca Solnit’s indispensable cultural history of that art.

This article was originally published on January 10, 2018, by Brain Pickings, and is republished here with permission.

Please consider supporting Brain Pickings—a one-woman labor of love—with a donation:donating = loving

Friday, October 25, 2019



This early 1900s house, after the neighborhood had been rezoned for apartments, declined in value to $7,000 in the 1970s. Being rezoned single-family brought decades of revitalization that raised the value of neighborhood homes like this one to $700,000.
New Urbanism is like a virus. For 50 years it keeps coming back in mutated forms. It needs a cure.
First, the only thing new in New Urbanism is the new construction that tears down the organic city. A form of New Urbanism has been around for 50 years. Like I said, it is a virus that keeps coming back in mutated forms. But the scheme, of more density, new mixed-use construction, and fixed rail transit, replacing existing homes remains constant. The desire of planners to determine where you live and where you work also remains constant. New urbanists increasingly do not like single family homes, which most Americans prefer.
There is a growing New Urbanism movement across the country that says single-family zoning is bad. There are some cities like Minneapolis that have banned single-family zoning that had made up over 50% of Minneapolis. Some states, like Oregon, are considering abolishing single-family zoning. Even the Dallas City Council unanimously voted to allow two-story backyard rental houses in single-family neighborhoods. Former Dallas City Councilperson, Philip Kingston, said that single-family neighborhoods like Preston Hollow are no longer relevant. If this trend continues, your grandchildren or great grandchildren might never have a chance to live in a single-family zoned neighborhood, with front or back yards to play in, streets to ride bikes on, or familiarity with longtime neighbors.
In contrast, what I call Organic Urbanism works with people’s preferences, particularly those of families. It protects, preserves, and nurtures the city, allowing the creativity of individuals and neighborhoods to shape the direction of the city. This includes the single-family homes as well as a diversity of housing types.
Organic urbanism supports what people want in their diverse neighborhoods. In contrast new urbanism, particularly their allies in the planning profession, oppose such housing and favor density to support public transit and claim they make homes more affordable.
In contrast, organic Urbanists think denser apartment development makes neighborhoods less walkable and less desirable. Organism Urbanism strives to preserve, protect, and rejuvenate the existing housing stock of diverse sizes, styles, and conditions that is conducive to a mix of incomes and lifestyles. Organic Urbanism also favors zoning for less than what is already built. Less dense zoning provides the incentive to preserve and revitalize the existing housing stock, or lose the privilege of higher density on a lot if an existing multi-family building is torn down. For example, if a duplex or apartment house is zoned single-family and it is torn down, it can only be replaced by a single-family home. This gives the owner incentive to maintain the existing duplex or apartment house or lose their privilege of multi-family.
Organic Urbanism approaches the city like a garden. There is an understanding that the evolution of buildings and uses should evolve rather than being plowed under and planted like an industrial farm. In a garden that is nurtured, one might plant a sapling with sun-loving plants around it. Once the tree grows, one might plant, shade-tolerant flowers under the tree. There is a natural ebb and flow of decay, rejuvenation, and new construction in an organic city. Neighborhoods fall in and out of favor, creating opportunities for those of all incomes.
New Urbanism has a goal of creating diversity by diluting good parts of the city. Organic Urbanism strives for diversity by improving out-of-favor neighborhoods.
I will describe eight key differences of New Urbanism and Organic Urbanism.
  1. Density versus preservation

    New Urbanism is in favor of more density replacing existing structures, even in a shrinking city.

    Organic Urbanism is in favor of preserving and rejuvenating the existing buildings in addition to adding new construction.

    Here is a historic duplex of two 500 sq.ft. apartments within three blocks of $2.5 million historic mansions that could have been renovated. Instead, because it is zoned multifamily, it will be torn down and the land added to the entire block of three-story new apartments being erected.

  2. Vibrancy versus nature.

    New Urbanism touts vibrancy as the key attraction to a city and thinks jamming people together will create vibrancy. Along the same lines, New Urbanism says the next generation is less interested in single-family homes and more interested in living in apartments.

    Organic Urbanism think more along the lines of Yogi Berra –when a city gets too crowded no one wants to live there anymore. The Wall Street Journal tends to agree. It reported that census figures showed that cities with over a half a million people collectively lost 27,000 Millennials aged 25 to 39 last year in 2018. New York lost 38,000 Millennials. This was the fourth year in a row city lost Millennials led by those 35 to 39. Millennials are the most committed to the environment and they love living in nature surrounded by trees, gardens, and a pleasing environment. Organic Urbanists understand Millennials interest in nature, trumps vibrancy, especially when they begin raising families.

  3. Income diversity in neighborhoods

    New Urbanism is in favor of providing the rich with cultural amenities and the poor with services and subsidies, while ignoring the middle class.

    Also, New Urbanism wants to create income diversity in neighborhoods by building moderate and expensive apartments and then having a percentage of those apartments subsidized for low-income residents.

    In contrast, Organic Urbanism creates income diversity in neighborhoods by rejuvenating inexpensive single-family homes, protecting middle-class neighborhoods, and encouraging expensive neighborhoods for high-income homeowners.

    This Organic Urbanism approach emphasizes emerging middle-class neighborhoods and protecting the middle-class residents that are disappearing in cities across the country.

    Organic Urbanism recognizes that diverse sizes and conditions of older homes allow diverse incomes in older neighborhoods. Old East Dallas is a good example. In Mount Auburn, you will find $150,000 cottages, in Junius Heights $400,000 bungalows, in Munger Place $700,000 prairie style homes, and on Swiss Avenue $2 million historic mansions. All four of these neighborhoods are within six blocks of each other. I have had friends and clients that owned an 1100 square foot home, and then moved to a 2400 square foot home, and then to a 5000 square foot home, all which were within 4 blocks of each other and in three different historic districts.

    This historic Prairie style home is part of a natural progression of home ownership in an organic urban neighborhood. The homeowner's first home was an 1,100 sq.ft. cottage in the Peak Suburban Historic District, then they purchased a 2,400 sq.ft. home in the Munger Place Historic District a few blocks away, and ultimately they purchased a 5,700 sq.ft. Swiss Avenue Prairie style home which is only four blocks away from their first two homes.

  4. Mass Transit and Mobility

    New Urbanism calls for fixed rail mass transit to be built where people don’t want it. Recently, New urbanist planner Christof Spieler, openly suggest at a D Magazine-sponsored New Dallas Summit said we need the political will to put fixed rail through the middle of neighborhoods where people didn’t want it, in order to gain ridership. Michael Morris, the Director of Transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said at another talk that they are lobbying the State Legislature to allow tax dollars that had been allocated for mass transit, to be diverted to subsidize new development next to fixed rail so more people will use the rail system.

    Organic Urbanism instead acknowledges and applauds the incredibly diverse areas, fragile neighborhoods, and established buildings in Dallas where people live and work. It insists transit exist to serve people, not the other way around. Rather than tearing up neighborhoods for rail systems and forcing mass transit development, Organic Urbanistslike 20th century forms of transportation like buses, and 21st century technology like Uber, autonomous vehicles, and air taxis to adapt to where people want to live and work.

    Also, Organic Urbanism want to entice people to walk by creating a pleasing environment, not forcing people to walk.

    Organic Urbanism recognizes that diverse sizes and conditions of older homes allow diverse incomes in older neighborhoods. Old East Dallas is a good example. In Mount Auburn, you will find $150,000 cottages, in Junius Heights $400,000 bungalows, in Munger Place $700,000 prairie style homes, and on Swiss Avenue $2 million historic mansions. All four of these neighborhoods are within six blocks of each other. I have had friends and clients that owned an 1100 square foot home, and then moved to a 2400 square foot home, and then to a 5000 square foot home, all which were within 4 blocks of each other and in three different historic districts.

  5. Schools

    Since busing did not work out, New Urbanists now want to extract people from low-income neighborhoods and place them in new subsidized housing in expensive neighborhoods so that they can live in these neighborhoods with better public schools. 

    Organic Urbanists instead cheer on private schools, charter schools, ISD Academies, and collaborate private/public schools that are emerging in lower income neighborhoods. These schools also attract middle- and high-income families to these lower income neighborhoods, creating a more positive and natural diversity.

  6. Increase or diminish the value of single-family homes

    New Urbanists Chris Leinberger, said at a D Magazine New Urbanism lecture, “Single-family zoning is good economically for the homeowner but is bad morally for the city.”

    New Urbanists see a moral imperative to replace single family housing with multifamily structures.

    Organic Urbanists see things much differently. They know the economic viability of the city is dependent on the sustained value of single-family homes and a prosperous middle class who tend to live in them. Organic Urbanists also understand the middle class is the strongest lobby for good schools, good police, fire departments, and parks.

  7. Affordable Housing

    Many are in favor of the city subsidizing developers to build affordable housing. New Urbanism is a great advocate of the city government subsidizing developers of affordable housing. But where do the developers find cheap land? Usually in the areas that would naturally appeal to low-income homebuyers.

    New Urbanism also is in favor of giving a developer more height or density for a new building in exchange for the developer subsidizing the rent of a certain percentage of the apartments in the building that will be designated for affordable housing units. Let’s say a builder wants to get permission to build high-rise apartments that will lease for $2,000 a month, the developer might then have to set aside for 20 years, 10% of the apartments in the building, where the developer agrees to subsidize the rent. If a developer is required to subsidize the rent for each of these units at $1000 a month, a tenant in an affordable housing unit is only required to pay $1000 a month rent for their $2000 a month apartment. This raises the price for everyone else.

    Organic Urbanists think a better solution than subsidizing rent would be for the city to require a developer to subsidize the interest on a home mortgage loan to help a low or moderate-income person to buy a home. This expands homeownership in the city.

    For example, Organic Urbanists would prefer that a developer not spend $1000 a month subsidizing one expensive apartment for a low-income renter, but instead the developer spending that $1000-a-month subsidy to pay for interest-free mortgage loans to three families, so each family could afford to purchase a $100,000 home. Or instead of a $1000-a-month rent subsidy for one apartment, the developer could provide six interest-free mortgage loans on six $50,000 homes for six low-income homebuyers.

    Organic Urbanists understand the greatest economic disparity between black and white families is wealth. Black families earn 70 cents on the dollar for what white families earn, but black families only have 4% of the comparative wealth of white families, because of the lower rate of home ownership and subsidizing rent on apartments does not create wealth for low-income families.

    Organic Urbanists also are opposed to subsidizing developers for their purchase of inexpensive homes that these developers will tear down so they can build new affordable housing.  Organic Urbanists are in favor of preserving the existing housing stock that allows low income families the opportunity to purchase a home.

  8. Dilute good neighborhoods or improve bad neighborhoods

    New Urbanists declare that there are not any affordable homes where people want to live. Their resulting strategy is to extract lower income people from their deteriorating neighborhoods and relocate them to new subsidized apartment units on very expensive lots in the more attractive expensive neighborhoods.

    Organic Urbanists are in favor of improving low-income neighborhoods and making them more attractive for both low- and middle-income residents.

    Organic Urbanists understand that if a lot in an expensive neighborhood cost $500,000 and a lot in a deteriorated neighborhood cost $50,000, the same number of affordable homes could be built on either priced lot. However, if the affordable homes were built on the inexpensive $50,000 lot, there would be $450,000 left over to spend on new sidewalks, curbs, parkway trees, attractive street lights, and internet connectivity, which would improve the desirability of the neighborhood and attract people who would now want to live in this neighborhood.

Maybe the best example of the difference between New Urbanism and Organic Urbanism is their respective position on granny flats.
The New Urbanism idea of granny flats is sweeping the country. The mantra used in Dallas is that granny flats provide more affordable housing and allow senior homeowners to remain in their homes. A few months ago, the Dallas Assistant Director of Housing made a presentation to the Dallas Architecture Forum. She repeated this economic justification for granny flats, that they will create more affordable housing and allow senior homeowners to remain in their homes. When asked what the projected square footage cost of a granny flat was, she said she had no idea as there had been no discussion of the cost of a granny flat and this question had never come up within the housing department or City Council.
Organic Urbanism, on the other hand, looks for the best economic ways for the city to evolve for senior citizens and those needing affordable homes. If a nonprofit in Dallas spent $300 a square foot to build the 400 square foot Crossroads cottages for the homeless, it becomes obvious to an Organic Urbanist that renovating existing houses is a more cost-effective means of providing affordable housing than building new granny flats. Using the homeless cottage cost figures, building a 600-square foot apartment over a garage might cost $200,000.
This does not make a one-bedroom granny flat apartment affordable or lower the cost for a senior homeowner.
In the meantime, a two-story granny flat removes a canopy of trees, looms over the neighbor’s property, lines the front curb with on-street parked cars, and creates more transience in the neighborhood.
Here on one side of the alley you see New Urbanism granny flats blocking the sun and breezes that replaced towering trees. On the other side of the alley you see the layered canopy of trees that include mature pecan trees, tall cedar trees, crepe myrtles, and understory Japanese maples in the backyards of single-family homes that are still dedicated to nature, not rentals.
New Urbanism wants to create a city where people are forced to walk, forced to take fixed rail, forced to live in buildings shared with subsidized renters, and forced to live jammed together in dense neighborhoods in the name of vibrancy.
Organic Urbanism represents an alternative to the top-down tyranny of the new urbanist mantra. We recognize that the cycles of deterioration and rejuvenation create environments that people desire and where they can afford to live and work. Organic Urbanists would rather nurture a city where people enjoy living and walking in a diverse neighborhood, a city that entices Millennials and the middle class to stay in the city and raise their families.
Organic Urbanism allows creativity and self-expression can be manifested. Embracing Organic Urbanism, every person can impact the significance and stewardship of their city, their neighborhood, and their home.
Hopefully, Organic Urbanism can eradicate New Urbanism in our lifetime and reintroduce the concept that cities are not for planners or trains, but people.
Douglas Newby is a real estate broker who initiated the largest the largest rezoning in Dallas - 2,000 properties primarily in use as multi family rental properties to single family zoning. In 1979, in Dallas he created the first Restoration House of the Year Award, and for the Dallas Chapter of the AIA organized a city wide survey of architect designed and Significant homes. His TEDx talk is Homes That Make Us Happy. His website is: Blog is


Marinwood CSD meeting October 2019

Monday, October 21, 2019

The End of Aspiration

The End of Aspiration

Since the end of the Second World War,  middle- and working-class people across the Western world have sought out—and, more often than not, achieved—their aspirations. These usually included a stable income, a home, a family, and the prospect of a comfortable retirement. However, from Sydney to San Francisco, this aspiration is rapidly fading as a result of a changing economy, soaring land costs, and a regulatory regime, all of which combine to make it increasingly difficult for the new generation to achieve a lifestyle like that enjoyed by their parents. This generational gap between aspiration and disappointment could define our demographic, political, and social future.
In the United States, about 90 percent of children born in 1940 grew up to experience higher incomes than their parents, according to researchers at the Equality of Opportunity Project. That figure dropped to only 50 percentof those born in the 1980s. The US Census bureau estimates that, even when working full-time, people in their late twenties and early thirties earn $2000 less in real dollars than the same age cohort in 1980. More than 20 percent of people aged 18 to 34 live in poverty, up from 14 percent in 1980. Three-quarters of American adults today predict their child will not grow up to be better-off than they are, according to Pew.
These sentiments are even more pronounced in France, Britain, Spain, Italy, and Germany. In Japan, a remarkable three-quarters of those polled said they believe things will be worse for the next generation. Even in China, many young people face a troubling future; in 2017, eight million graduates entered the job market, but most ended up with salaries that could have been attained by going to work in a factory straight out of high school.  
Undermining of Home Ownership
Few metrics demonstrate the end of aspiration better than the decline in home ownership. The parents and grandparents of the millennial generation (born between 1982 and 2002) witnessed a dramatic rise in homeownership; in contrast, by 2016, home ownership among older millennials (25-34) had dropped by 18 percent from 45.4 percent in 2000 to 37 percent in 2016. Without a home, these millennials will face a “formidable challenge” in boosting their net worth. Property remains central to financial security: Homes today account for roughly two-thirds of the wealth of middle-income Americans; home owners have a median net worth more than 40 times that of renters.
Perhaps nowhere is shift more dramatic than in Australia, a country long renowned for both social mobility and widespread home ownership. Between 1981 and 2016, property ownership rates among 25 to 34 year-olds in Australia—a country with a strong tradition of middle- and working-class home ownership—fell from more than 60 percent to 45 percent. This is not, as some suggest, the result of a lack of developable land. Even in the relatively crowded United Kingdom, only six percent of the land is urbanized, while barely three percent of the US and 2.1 percent in Canada is urbanized. It’s less than 0.3 percent of Australia 
So why has home ownership fallen? Largely due to regulations that have placed new affordable housing beyond the reach of younger Australians, something we also see in major cities in Great Britain, the United States, and Canada. In all these places, the main culprit has been “smart growth,” a notion that encourages the reluctant to move closer to dense urban cores and give up the dream of owning a home. 
As a result, Australia’s once affordable cities are now among the world’s most expensive. According to demographer Wendell Cox, prices for homes in Sydney—even in the current downturn—are higher than Los Angeles, London, New York, Singapore, and Washington. These all are cities that by any estimate are more critical in the world economy and far more land constrained. Even Adelaide, an isolated and declining industrial hub, has higher prices based on income than Seattle, one of the world’s most dynamic tech hubs.

The impact on prices has been severe. In Sydney, planning regulations, according to a recent Reserve Bank study, now add 55 percent to the price of a home. In Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane the impact is also well over $100,000 per house. Australian cities once filled with family-friendly neighborhoods are now dominated by dense apartments. According to projections from the Urban Taskforce, apartments will make up half of Sydney’s dwellings by the mid-century, whereas only one quarter of Sydney dwellings will be family-friendly detached homes. 
These policies are widely supported among planners, academics, and the media; in virtually all countries, the cognitive elites congregate in elite urban centres. Indeed, when I produced data at a recent convention demonstrating that most Australians are continuing to move to the periphery, even in New South Wales, the moderator, Australian Broadcast commentator Ali Moore, described much of suburbia as “the wastelands.” This led one attendee to wonder “what country” she inhabited, given that 80 percent of all Australians live in suburbs, with more than four-fifths of families preferring to live in single family homes.
The Green Agenda
Historically, opposition to suburban lifestyles was based largely on aesthetic, social, or even economic considerations. Today, opponents are preoccupied with “green” and “sustainability” concerns. The environmental magazine Grist envisioned “a hero generation” that will escape the material trap of suburban living and work that engulfed their parents. One magazine editor proudly declared herself to be a part of the GINK generation (as in “green inclinations, no kids”) which not only afforded her a relatively care-free and low-cost adult life, but also “a lot of green good that comes from bringing fewer beings onto a polluted and crowded planet.”
This view is widely shared by both the oligarchy and the upper echelons of the planning clerisy. Like their medieval counterparts, they wish to see a more “ordered” planet, but in ways that do not threaten their own power or quality of life. Those at the top of class pyramid can purchase “indulgences” for their consumption by investing in forests, driving electric cars, solarizing their homes, while their wealth allows them to purchase expensive inner-city flats.    
This meme is applauded by publications like the Australian Financial Review, which insist that millennials do not want to live in suburbia. This is largely specious. In survey after survey, most millennials, in the United States and elsewhere, hope to buy a single-family house. The problem is simply that they can’t afford them, particularly in the highly regulated regions as in California, Australia, Canada, or the UK.   
This sets a stage for a future political conflict. Even in the teeth of policies that seek to discourage suburban growth, in most high-income countries, including Canada, Australia, and the US, suburban tastes remain predominant, and are likely to become more so. In America, among those under 35 who do buy homes, four-fifths choose single-family detached houses. According to a recent National Homebuilders Association report, over 66 percent, including those living in cities, actually prefer in the future to purchase a house in the suburbs. 
The drive against bourgeois aspirations underpins an emerging neo-feudal system in which people remain renters for life, enjoying their video games or houseplants. This may end the dream of ownership that has defined the middle class for a half millennium, but it could assure a steady profit for the owner class, a rent that would seem appropriate to a medieval landlord. 
French economist Thomas Picketty has suggested that today’s ageing societies exacerbate this pattern. Older people dominate the stock and property assets, forcing up prices to the point that younger generations or newcomers to these countries face growing obstacles to upward mobility. High rents as well as rising house prices make the extension of property ownership increasingly difficult for all but inheritors. 
This receding horizon is generating an ever more feudalistic mentality among the young—those with wealthy parents are far luckier to own a house and enter what one writer calls “the funnel of privilege.” In  America—like Australia, a country whose mythology disdains the power of inherited wealth—millennials are increasingly counting on inheritance for their retirement at a rate three times that of the boomers. Among the youngest cohort, those aged 18 to 22, over 60 percent see inheritance as their primary source of wealth as they age.
A Return to Bourgeois Aspiration
“Young people,” wrote Montesquieu in the mid-eighteenth century, “do not degenerate; this only occurs only after grown men have become corrupt.” By endorsing policies that restrict suburban development and home ownership, planners, investors, and the media are asking the next generation to accept conditions that their predecessors would never have tolerated.
Ultimately, this poses a threat to the powerful democratic ideal that arose in the second half of the last century. Instead of spreading the wealth, many of the leading Silicon Valley oligarchs’ solution to marginalization is to have the state provide housing subsidies as well as unconditional cash stipends to keep the peasants from rising against their betters. 
The oligarchs understandably do not want a populist rebellion from below; the Trump victory and Brexit were demonstrations of that threat. But nor do they worry all that much about being burdened by a call for societal generosity. Such people tend to be skilled at tax avoidance, so they won’t be picking up the bill. Instead, as occurred in the Middle Ages, the taxes will be paid by the remaining middle- and working-class residents, while the regulatory clerisy, both in government and the universities, enjoy cushy pensions and other protections unavailable to the masses. 
The erosion of upward mobility threatens a deepening conflict between the middle orders and the elites. It also threatens the future of liberal democracy. A strong landowning middle order has been essential in democracies from ancient Athens and the Roman and Dutch Republics to contemporary Europe, North America, and Australia. Now with fewer owning land, and many without even a reasonable expectation of acquiring it, we may be entering an era portrayed as progressive and multicultural but that will be ever more feudal in its economic and social form.

Joel Kotkin is a Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. His next book, On the Return of Feudalism, will be out early next year from St. Martin’s. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Serena Williams demands Pickleball lines on Marinwood Tennis Courts

She says seniors and adults of all ages are taking up Pickleball by storm.  Why is Marinwood behind the curve in serving the community? Marinwood Tennis Courts at Miller Creek can be modified with pickleball lines without affecting the tennis program.   We pay plenty in CSD park taxes.  The public park is for ALL AGES and people should have a pickleball court to play on. Send your request for pickleball to 

for more on pickleball, visit



AT a great celebration in honor of King Lion, the Monkey was asked to dance for the company. His dancing was very clever indeed, and the animals were all highly pleased with his grace and lightness.

The praise that was showered on the Monkey made the Camel envious. He was very sure that he could dance quite as well as the Monkey, if not better, so he pushed his way into the crowd that was gathered around the Monkey, and rising on his hind legs, began to dance. But the big hulking Camel made himself very ridiculous as he kicked out his knotty legs and twisted his long clumsy neck. Besides, the animals found i t hard to keep their toes from under his heavy hoofs.

At last, when one of his huge feet came within an inch of King Lion's nose, the animals were so disgusted that they set upon the Camel in a rage and drove him out into the desert.
Shortly afterward, refreshments, consisting mostly of Camel's hump and ribs, were served to the company.

Do not try to ape your betters.