My Plan for Building the Perfect California City

Welcome to 'Joeville,' Where the First Rule Is Not to Play by the Rules

Recently a startup founder in San Jose asked me a question: What would you do if you were starting a California city?

My first answer: Get my head examined.

For 40 years, the state government and California voters have steadily reduced the revenues and limited the discretion of municipal governments; anyone who starts a new city in such conditions is insane by definition. Our newest cities—like Jurupa Valley and Menifee in Riverside County—have struggled to survive.

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Then I reconsidered. No, I don’t believe in …

Could California’s Coldest Place Blaze a Path to Better Development?

Up in the Sierra, the Town of Truckee Is Embracing Dense Urban Growth

One of California’s hottest development projects can be found in one of its coldest towns.

In an era of bitter neighbor-bites-neighbor fights against big developments, perhaps it’s fitting that an antidote …

Could a New River City Transform California?

Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State's Next Great Region

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens …

California’s Housing Crisis Is a Nasty Intersection of the State’s Worst Problems

Behind High Rents and Ballooning Mortgages Are Challenges Ranging from Homelessness and Transportation to Taxation and the Environment

California’s sky-high housing prices haven’t just made it hard to find and afford a place to live. They’ve put pressures on the economy, the environment, transportation, and health that threaten …

To Get Things Done in California, Listen More Than You Talk

That’s the Method of Nelson Rising, the Most Effective Developer You’ve Never Heard Of

What do we do now, Nelson Rising?

I pose that question not just because this is a confusing and complicated era for California. And not just because no living Californian is …

The Walls Are Too High in the Kingdom of Ventura

Growth Restrictions Have Saved Open Space in California, but Wealthy Elites Also Use Them to Keep the Middle Class Out

Ventura County is the most glorious and verdant of California kingdoms.

Just ask its princes and princesses—those fortunate enough to be able to afford to live and vote there. Most of …