Jake's blog

Let's talk about why New York City housing is so expensive.

A common response I get is when people say, "but Jake, New York is super dense and it still has expensive real estate!  There's no way you could build your way out of the housing shortage!"   Well, no, that's not right. Let me tell you a story about that.But before I start talking about the origins of our current housing shortage, I'm going to lay out a couple basic principles of urban development.First: real estate developers are businesses. They'll build as many units on a property as the market will bear and as the law will allow.  Thus, no...

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Let's talk about why America doesn't build traditional small towns anymore.

A question I get asked a lot is, "why don't they build charming small towns in America anymore? Why are there only Stepford Wife suburbs and major cities?" More than anything, it's because of parking laws. I'll illustrate using two small towns. If you'll follow me across the country, I'm going to show you the town square of Healdsburg, California, an hour and a half to the north of San Francisco. Healdsburg was founded in 1857 as a farming community on the Russian River; it was connected to San Francisco by railway in 1872. Healdsburg's traditional town layout is pretty...

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Due to the covid-19 pandemic, shipping may be delayed.

I'm still able to print and ship orders on the same timetable as before, but the Post Office is significantly slower than before.  Please be patient.

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So, I think I'd like to make a book of this Lost Subways project.

I've decided that I'm going to turn The Lost Subways of North America into a book, featuring a collection of the maps that I've put up here, accompanied by vignettes of North American cities past and present. It's the kind of thing that'll look good on your coffee table.  Details to come when I find a publisher who's willing to take it. (Note: if you work for a publisher and you're reading this, my agent is Ellen Scordato at Stonesong.)

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The Lost Subways of North America: Boston, Kansas City and Toronto


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.  I've resolved to turn this project into a book, and so you'll be seeing more of these. The latest maps: Toronto, 1985 Toronto's subway system expansion stalled in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Money was short, the densest parts of the Greater Toronto Area were adequately served by the Yonge and Bloor subways, and the Toronto Transit Commission was experimenting with maglev lines to satisfy the rapid transit needs of the suburbs.  (The result of the ultimately unsuccessful maglev was the Scarborough RT, now known as Line 3.)  After maglev petered out, the Progressive Conservative Party...

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