Cornerstone is a Substack focused on urbanism, advocating for sustainable urban development and housing reforms. It addresses grassroots advocacy, the importance of inclusive movements, and urban planning concepts that foster community and affordability. It critically examines policies, highlights creative solutions like SROs, and explores the impact of zoning on housing availability.

Urbanism Housing Advocacy Community Development Urban Planning Policy Analysis Sustainable Development Inclusion and Diversity

The hottest Substack posts of Cornerstone

And their main takeaways
99 implied HN points β€’ 19 Feb 24
  1. Zoning reform opponents want people to be confused, angry, and fearful, but reform supporters aim to inform people with the belief that information is on their side.
  2. Negative behavior and attacks from opponents persist, making it challenging to engage in positive dialogue and find common ground in housing advocacy.
  3. NIMBYism is driven by a deep fear of change, with opponents believing increased housing density will disrupt their lives, creating a generational and emotional divide in housing debates.
79 implied HN points β€’ 01 Mar 24
  1. Male leaders should take responsibility for inclusion in the YIMBY movement instead of relying on women
  2. Men could share the burden of administrative and backend work more actively to support women in the movement
  3. It is essential to seek out and affirm the qualifications of female leaders and candidates to enhance diversity and strength in YIMBY organizations
99 implied HN points β€’ 13 Feb 24
  1. LA's 'Affordable Housing' miracle involves a streamlined process for developers to build lower-rent housing, showing promise with over 16,150 units in development.
  2. The success of LA's Executive Directive 1 challenges the assumption that market actors cannot serve low-income renters, highlighting the importance of deregulating housing.
  3. Housing regulations are a significant barrier to affordable housing production, and by slashing these regulations, the market can potentially provide more diverse and affordable housing options.
59 implied HN points β€’ 08 Mar 24
  1. Not everything can be the best use of time and energy, prioritizing tasks is necessary to achieve goals efficiently.
  2. When advocating for housing reform, it's important to consider the trade-offs between policies with political power and those that directly impact housing production and affordability.
  3. In the realm of housing policies, prioritizing ADUs, mid-rise housing, and transit-oriented development can lead to significant positive impacts on housing availability and affordability.
139 implied HN points β€’ 29 Apr 23
  1. Grassroots advocacy work can be rewarding, but it's crucial to pace yourself and avoid burnout. Taking breaks and ensuring sustainability is key in this type of work.
  2. Building a strong team and coalition is vital for the success of any advocacy organization. Empowering people and leading with humility are essential aspects of effective leadership.
  3. Creating a sustainable and effective organization requires defining and committing to core values, recruiting actively, and being authentic in building coalitions.
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59 implied HN points β€’ 16 Jun 23
  1. Think and talk about opponents as little as possible to avoid validating them and looking threatened.
  2. Focus on staying positive and productive despite attacks or intimidation. Do not take the bait.
  3. Respect opponents by understanding their motivations and where they are coming from, aiming to outmaneuver rather than dehumanize them.
59 implied HN points β€’ 05 May 23
  1. YIMBY organizations focus on grassroots activism, engaging everyday people in advocating for policies that increase housing supply.
  2. YIMBY groups engage in different types of advocacy, including grassroots activism, grasstops advocacy, electoral politics, and advocacy through the news media.
  3. Having a clear campaign or 'MacGuffin' to organize around is crucial for YIMBY groups, helping them rally support, increase visibility, and drive their advocacy efforts.
59 implied HN points β€’ 28 Apr 23
  1. Cornerstone is a blog about urbanism, focusing on the built environment and people's interactions with it, primarily through an economic lens.
  2. Efficient land use in urban areas can lead to significant improvements for everyone.
  3. Bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong is an interesting example of urban construction techniques.
19 implied HN points β€’ 07 Nov 23
  1. The importance of transit-oriented development in addressing housing needs and housing policy challenges in regions like Alexandria.
  2. Advocacy for zoning reforms and the need to view each other positively and collaboratively in solving the housing crisis.
  3. Engagement in community planning and promoting diverse housing options to create inclusive, thriving neighborhoods.
39 implied HN points β€’ 14 Jul 23
  1. Highland Park in Pittsburgh exemplifies a beautiful blend of closely spaced homes, walkability, and a large park.
  2. The neighborhood showcases the potential of human-scale urban planning with diverse housing types and economic integration.
  3. Highland Park's organic beauty and timeless charm highlight the possibility of creating similar communities if granted permission and freedom in development.
39 implied HN points β€’ 09 Jun 23
  1. Building a movement requires incremental growth, perseverance, and grit.
  2. Focus on email list growth from the beginning as it plays a crucial role in communication.
  3. Social media can be time-consuming, may not yield significant results, and can negatively impact your mental state. Use it wisely and prioritize real-world relationships.
39 implied HN points β€’ 26 May 23
  1. Leaders should prioritize leading with humility, asking the right questions, and empowering their team rather than being controlling or prideful.
  2. Building a culture of kindness and consideration is crucial for a healthy organization, fostering mutual respect, and supporting team members through tough times.
  3. Effective leadership involves making decisions collectively, minimizing friction for team members, celebrating victories, recognizing individual contributions, and taking responsibility for failures to emotionally stabilize the team and find the way forward.
2 HN points β€’ 15 Mar 24
  1. Every $100 increase in Houston's rents leads to a 9% increase in the local homeless population, highlighting the critical link between housing affordability and homelessness.
  2. Single-room occupancy apartments (SROs) are seen as a viable solution to homelessness by experts, offering a historical perspective and potential to address regulatory challenges for implementation.
  3. SROs could provide a missing piece in combatting mass homelessness by offering a land-efficient, socially diverse housing option suitable for various demographics, advocating for their integration and allowing them is crucial for progress.
19 implied HN points β€’ 20 Jun 23
  1. Building successful coalitions requires meeting with others, finding common ground, and staying true to your group's vision and values.
  2. Coalition-building involves reaching out to organizations with shared values and helping them achieve their goals while also maintaining authenticity.
  3. Being part of a coalition may require making sacrifices, but it can be incredibly rewarding and effective in achieving common objectives.
19 implied HN points β€’ 02 Jun 23
  1. Define and tenaciously commit to your organization's core values to provide a sense of purpose and guide decision-making.
  2. Maintain civility, integrity, and kindness in interactions to build a positive reputation and strong relationships within your community.
  3. Focus on taking action, staying disciplined on key issues, and remaining non-partisan to drive effective advocacy and maintain a broad coalition.
0 implied HN points β€’ 08 Dec 23
  1. Housing scarcity can be linked to weak property rights, like the Supreme Court decision on zoning.
  2. The Supreme Court decision in 1926 upheld single-family zoning, prioritizing certain privileges for exclusive neighborhoods.
  3. The opinion reflected class prejudice and focused on spurious arguments about traffic, still relevant in housing advocacy today.
0 implied HN points β€’ 23 Feb 24
  1. Minivans are a great safety compromise for occupants, other vehicles, and pedestrians/cyclists due to their design features like low front for pedestrians and tall rear for occupants.
  2. Vehicle size and weight affect safety, with minivans offering a balance and protection, especially in collisions with other large vehicles like trucks.
  3. Limitations and trade-offs exist in automotive safety, emphasizing the importance of considering alternatives and continuous improvement.
0 implied HN points β€’ 17 Aug 23
  1. Front-facing garages in townhouse developments can create a sense of community and social interaction among neighbors.
  2. Front-facing garages can lead to more serendipitous interactions among residents, fostering strong neighborhood connections.
  3. Garages can serve multiple purposes beyond car storage, such as providing secure storage for bikes and enhancing neighborhood walkability.
0 implied HN points β€’ 19 May 23
  1. Team building involves empowering and growing individuals based on their strengths and weaknesses, not against each other. Delegating tasks helps build skills, experience, and confidence.
  2. Roles and structure within a team are vital for specialization and effective execution. Assigning specific roles allows individuals to focus on their strengths and contribute effectively.
  3. Recruitment for a team can come from active community members or experienced individuals. Having a diverse team with various backgrounds and talents is crucial for success.
0 implied HN points β€’ 10 Aug 23
  1. Sitting in traffic is a significant problem that needs addressing, especially in areas like Northern Virginia.
  2. Congestion pricing could be an effective policy solution to address traffic congestion by pricing the externality of time wasted in traffic.
  3. Dependency on cars for transportation poses risks like accidents and contributes to a sedentary lifestyle, emphasizing the need for better transit options.