What We Can (And Can’t) Learn From Pharell About Creating Happy Cites

Can Listening to 'Happy' make us and our cities Happy?

I recently attended the “Doable Cities Forum” in Chicago. One of the speakers was Charles Montgomery, author of The Happy City. The book is a great guide to the research and practice of creating cities that are not only livable, but will also improve the lives of people who live there by allowing them the freedom […]

Why Gen X is to Thank for the Urban Baby Boom

Gen-Xers fueling the urban baby boom. Photo: Skeddy in NYC/Flickr

  Cities are having a baby boom, according to Trulia’s Jed Kolko’s analysis of recent Census data. Some seem surprised by this. Some are quick to say it represents a huge shift in behavior. Imagine, cities with children in them! Sure, it’s a big deal. But it’s also not surprising and not necessarily going to […]

The Growing Role of Livability in City Conversations

Skokie Village mayor, George Van Dusen and developer John McLinden pose before the groundbreaking at the Floral Ave. development

It’s a great time to care about cities because it seems as if cities are caring more and more about themselves. By that I mean that livability (small ‘l’) is entering into conversations in cities of all sizes. Here are some quick examples. I was invited to give a talk to the Downtown Committee in […]

The Have and Have-Nots of Walkable Urbanism

Throughout U.S. history, we have had divides. Initially we had a lot of land to conquer, and we drew a line between settled and frontier. That gave way to urban versus rural. As we moved from an agrarian society to a mechanized one, the urban versus suburban divide became the key differentiator and has remained […]

Guest Post: Our New Best Place

Matt's former and our current home in Chicago.

Before moving into Matt Carmichael’s former house earlier this month, my husband and I had lived in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood for almost 15 years; it was our perfect place. We bought our Logan Square two-bedroom, one-bath condo in 2006 at the height of the real-estate bubble, unfortunately. Like a lot of young Americans in […]

Why Do People Move? Here Are the Top Reasons for Relocation

I just became a statistic. Between 2012 and 2013, about 36 million Americans moved to a new home. That’s about one in every 8.5 people. Last week I joined the ranks of the relocators and uprooted my family from a slightly suburban existence in a big city to a slightly urban existence in a suburb. You […]

How We Chose Our New Best Place to Live

Detail from a mosaic "stop" sign in an alley in Oak Park, IL. Even the alleys have character.

Recently, I asked my 5-year-old what she liked best about living where we live. We were going to be moving soon, and I wanted to start prepping her for the new home and new neighborhood. I also wanted to introduce her to some concepts of livability. We are moving to a place we feel is […]

How We Sold Our Home and Paid No Commission

This is a post about networks. And about how one big industry is due for a big disruption. It’s a post about how I sold my house and paid zero dollars in commission. But first, we have to back up. It was late in 2012, and we reached out to a realtor to see about […]