Can a Troubled Bridge Show California How to Avoid Big Errors?

The Bay Bridge’s New East Span Proves Why Megaprojects Must Be Both Transformational and Functional

How do you learn from a really big mistake?

Walk across it.

Which is why I recently found myself putting on a windbreaker and beginning a long, slow walk across the east span of the Bay Bridge, from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island. This piece of the bridge, completed in 2013, is probably the biggest California mistake of the last generation. The east span was completed a decade late, cost seven times more than official projections, and remains dogged by serious safety concerns.

However, the bridge does have one virtue: It holds lessons …

Do Californians Love Their Houses Too Much?

A Fourth-Generation Homeowner Reconsiders the California Dream

No house on earth means more to me than my paternal grandparents’ small blue home near the bottom of a windswept hill in the Bay Area city of San Mateo.

I’ve …

The 1958 Governor’s Race That Launched a Dynasty

An Internecine Fight Between Two Republicans Opened the Door to Ambitious San Francisco Democrat Pat Brown

As Jerry Brown nears the end of his record fourth term as California governor, his final months are swathed in nostalgia, superlatives, and retrospectives on a remarkable five decades in …

Is Slab City, California the Last Free Place in America?

Dwellers of the Desert Community—Both Exiles and Refugees—Are Staging an Experiment in 'Adaptation and Resistance'

When the alert pinged on my phone, I thought of Austin and his house of wooden pallets. A “wall of dust” roiled toward Slab City and other “impacted locations” in …

California’s Trees Need to Stop Just Standing There

With Humans Unable to Solve the Golden State's Forest Crisis, Our Woodsy Friends Must Step Up for Themselves

Dear California Trees,

When are you going to stand up and take some responsibility for all the damage you do to this state?

It’s not only the blue-purple blossoms that you jacarandas …