Category: Informal

­­Month in Review: December, 2013

17 January, 2014 (09:00) | Children, China, Cities, Detroit, Homes, Housing, Informal, Month in review, Municipal bankruptcy, Slums |

By: David A. Smith   [Previous Months in Review available here: Nov 13,Oct 13, Sep 13, Aug 13, Jul 13, Jun 13, May 13, Apr 13, Mar 13, Feb 13, Jan 13,]   I don’t actually enjoy writing detailed expositions of bad news and human foolishness; reporting hardship and failure and loss is depressing, yet […]

The upscale backyard shack: Part 2, sprouting mushrooms

22 July, 2010 (16:32) | Housing, Informal, Innovations, Markets, Rental, Seattle, Tenure, US News |

[Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.]    By: David A. Smith   Yesterday’s post, sprouting like a fistful of mushrooms from a little USA Today story about backyard rental apartments being built (with permission) in eco-friendly Seattle –   Give them the right zoning and they sprout overnight   – observed first that new tenures and […]

The upscale backyard shack: Part 1, grass-roots densification

21 July, 2010 (14:25) | Housing, Informal, Innovations, Markets, Rental, Seattle, Tenure, US News |

By: David A. Smith    Because both evolution and capitalism fill empty spaces, ecosystems become more robust as they diversify species – and when a need is unmet, the markets will find it – via shared-bathroom group houses, in-law apartments, rooming houses, urban micro-housing, or something else.  That’s the powerful (and to my mind hopeful) […]

Temporary permanence?

1 September, 2009 (09:48) | Housing, Informal, New York City, Slums, Speculation |

Here in the comfortable West, we think all our housing is formal, in contrast to that ‘informal’ housing they have in the global south – yet all around us, we tolerate permanent informality, because we think it temporary, as unwittingly revealed by this faintly touch-in-cheek Wall Street Journal article:   A sky of scrapers … […]

Spontaneous communities

6 October, 2005 (15:27) | Homes, Informal, Land use, Primer posts, Slums |

What should we call neighborhoods of self-built homes?   “Well, it was a hole in the ground cuvvered wi’ a sheet o’ tarpaulin, but it was a house to us.” — Rich Yorkshireman, reminiscing over a glass of Chateau La Chassela.   Use and invention always precede standardization and regulation, and so before there was […]