Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: A New Streetscape for Burlingame Avenue

Burlingame, California is a city south of San Francisco on the San Francisco Peninsula. It features a very nice downtown district which has, among other virtues, an unusually high quantity of retailers. While great dining and entertainment has come to many revitalized downtowns, most just can't seem to nurture a good retail scene. Burlingame has managed to pull it off. 

The City is in the process of giving a makeover to Burlingame Avenue, their downtown's main street. I visited the area recently, and the central portion was completed and it looked gorgeous. The new design is a big improvement, and I think they are doing a wonderful job of making a great place greater. When completed, it may be one of the most beautiful streets in Northern California. 

Here's what I saw... 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fonzie Flats

Fonzie with the Cunninghams in his accessory apartment above their garage.
(From the TV series Happy Days.)

Accessory apartments are small secondary housing units which are built on a lot with a single-family house. They have been put in attics, basements, above garages, and in detached back yard cottage structures. They used to be very common, but were outlawed in many communities during the mid-twentieth century.

They are often called granny flats or ADUs (accessory dwelling units), but let's forget all of that.
Granny Flats makes them sound old fashioned and out of date, and ADU sounds like a disease or a boring bureaucratic mechanism.

I propose that from this point forward we call them Fonzie Flats. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Housing Affordability at the Breaking Point - Part 4: Do We Need Affordable Housing or Affordable Living?

(Photo source: www.choosewhat.com)

Housing is too expensive in many of America's major metropolitan areas, and something must be done about it. However, it would be a tragic mistake to focus only on the cost of rent, or the sales prices of homes. As we work to bring down housing costs, we also need to make affordable options available in other aspects of people's lives which can offset high rent. There are two primary areas that we should focus on in order to promote affordable living