Non-Academic Writing

Both before and after starting a life as an academic, I have worked to write in as many formats as possible, from journalism to policy reports, op-eds to satire. They are listed below chronologically with links to their sources wherever possible. 

What sort of place is a ‘shithole’? It depends on your genderThe Conversation, 22 Jan., 2018 (With Alice Butler)

Wall Street landlords are chasing the American dream – here’s what it means for families. The Conversation, 7 Sep., 2017 (with Desiree Fields and Zac Taylor)

Where’s the alternative transport thinking? New Start Magazine, 17 February 2016

A plea for alternative economies folks to start recognizing the power of transport, and the need to get involved politically in this foundational urban system.

Can the University Help to Make Better Cities? Policy Innovations, 21 December 2015

The university is so much more capable of intervening to make better cities, if only we would reimagine what its role can be.

Gentrification cannot be solved without crucial, large compromise, Daily Californian, 15 September 2015

An argument for bolder thinking about political compromise and responsibility in the wealthiest region in the world. With a key role for the university to play in brokering it.
Winterfell, in Emma Jackson and Claire Biddles, eds., Lots of Planets Have a North


My first photo essay, using a technique that I intend to turn into a full publication. One of my most enjoyable pieces to write. Thanks to Emma and Claire for a great project.

An interview with Susan Fainstein, Justice Spatiale / Spatial Justice, Vol 5.

One of the most enjoyable and interesting pieces I have ever done. Susan is a true legend, both as a scholar and a teacher. This piece was an honor to do.
The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) featured my argument about rethinking the past, present and future of sprawl in its June 2012 issue. Below are links to my two pieces (1 & 3) and a great analysis by Jake Wegmann and Chris Schildt. Thanks to Egon Terplan, Allison Arieff and Gabe Metcalf for both great editing and the opportunity to make our case.
  1. The Cities of Carquinez While these ten cities may not be on everyone's radar, together they represent a tremendous opportunity for long-term growth in the region.
  2. Diversity Didn’t Cause the Foreclosure Crisis Solving the problems of the Cities of Carquinez means embracing the subregion's economic, racial, and social diversity.
  3. Urban Field Notes: Exploring the Cities of Carquinez An urban planner finally stops to take a look around — and not just a drive right through — a region in his own backyard.
 “Entire Bay Area must take ownership to find stadium compromises,” Oakland Tribune, April 5, 2012
  • Together with a linked post on Polis, this My Word piece from the Oakland Tribune is an attempt to push past the internecine blood-letting that is stadium competition in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 “How East Contra Costa County is Handling the Housing Crisis,” with Chris Schildt. Race, Poverty and the Environment, Oakland, Vol. 18, No. 2.
  • A brief examination of the growth of social justice activism in Eastern Contra Costa County, prompted in part by serious issues surrounding foreclosure and the suburbanization of poverty. It argues that regional actors, including foundations and policy organizations in the region’s core need to ratchet up the level of resources available for change in East County. Written with my colleague Chris Schildt, a follow-up academic paper with Oscar Sosa and June Gin is forthcoming.
Scenes from Surrendered Homes.” Places: Design Observer. July 18, 2011.
  • A piece I am truly proud of, and one which took a great deal of editing from Nancy Levinson and Josh Wallaert, this essay uses the amazing photographs of Doug Smith of foreclosed homes in the Northern San Joaquin Valley to explore questions of geography and foreclosure in the Bay Area. Together with my piece in IJURR, it forms a discursive duet which frames my thinking about the crisis in one of the wealthiest regions in history.

La Cosa Nostra: Discourse & Decline in Suburbia,” debate with Michael Thompson, MUDOT: Magazine on Urban Documentation, Opinion, Theory, Issue #2.
  • The second part of a two-part debate on suburbs in America with political scientist Michael Thompson. See below for links to the first part. The essay is a bit wonkish, and perhaps belongs on the academic side of things, but MUDOT, and it's predecessor MONU did a great job of bridging the gap, so I have included it here.
 “Catching the Green Wave:  Developing an Industrial Land Use Strategy for Richmond’s Green Economy,” Center for Community Innovation, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Written for the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative, this report analyzes the then-proposed Land Use Plan of the General Plan update against the City of Richmond’s stated goals with regards to green jobs and the green economy.
3rd Rate Guide to Second Rate Urbanism,” MONU: magazine on urbanism, Issue #7.
  • My first foray into satire. More follows on my satire blog, Saturbia.

As a Child of the Suburbs – A Response to Michael Thompson’s “How Suburbs Destroy Democracy”, MONU: magazine on urbanism, Issue #5.
  • Part one of my debate with Michael J. Thompson. See 2009 for part 2.
“Renewing Sullivan: Creating Sustainable Economic Development in Sullivan County,” Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development, March 2006.
  • The functional equivalent of my master thesis, this report was written to help launch SASD, which is still working in the Catskills. Thanks to Lynn McCormick from Hunter and Dick Riseling from SASD for support.
 “Growth & Change on New York’s Urban/Rural Edge”, The Next American City, Issue 8.
  • Written for the first iteration of TNAC, this piece explores issues at the urban/rural interface, an issue which has become critical in my academic work.

  • My first piece on planning, written as a masters student at Hunter. Thanks to Tom Angotti for my entrĂ©e into writing about planning.

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