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3x Top Writer 👨‍💻. Editor: Patterns of Development. Interested in: Strategy, Learning, and Real Estate. Rethinker 🧠. Framer 👷‍♂️. Hit FOLLOW ⤵
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My favorite math joke? Do you know how you make a difference? Subtraction.

We live in an era of abundance thinking. And with that mentality comes a particular problem-solving swagger. We add more. We do more.

Could you imagine if someone walked into a planning meeting and said, “Hey Everyone, we’re going to do less...”

I think there would be dead silence and then everyone would move on doing more.

The Most Important Question

This question doesn’t get asked enough,

“What problem are we solving?”

It is possible to solve a problem with elimination rather than addition.

Usually How It Goes

Typically when a development is proposed, the…


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Market Your Urban Ideas

Planning happens in a series of meetings. How you approach these meetings can make or break your idea. To be persuasive you need to think about how to market your ideas.

One of my favorite ways is with “rhyming pitches.” If you have a catchphrase that rhymes or has that certain rhythm, it can wiggle into your brain and stick. Here is a couple I’ve started to use in my community. Feel free to use them in yours:

20’s plenty

We don’t need big wide lanes. 10 feet a lane is fine. This will slow down traffic build more density. Make streets…


People on sidewalk outside of cafe
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I’ve been reading more than writing lately. Here is my second edition of 40 patterns of development. You can find the 1st edition here.

  1. Suburbanites walk perpendicular. Urbanites walk parallel.
  2. An enclosed block strategy is better than a tower strategy.
  3. It’s hard to convince people that mixed uses, varied income housing, and public transit are ok (see 24).
  4. Storefront strategy: Narrow with many doors.
  5. Sidewalk counts are a better index for activity than car counts.
  6. Contrary to common sense, the great majority of people select their site for social interaction right on over very close to traffic (pedestrian) lines —…


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Don’t have time to read? Check out the podcast where I discuss the best of what I learned about urban planning, architecture, and real estate development, in less than 10 minutes.

Montreal Case Study

With the addition of duplexes and triplexs as infill development, moving parking off the street front, and converting it to protected bike lanes they’ve created more options for transportation in this particular community and they’ve added stealth density.

A strategy we see time and time again when looking to revitalize an area.

Offer infrastructure for multiple transportation options, add density and consider how to slow down the experience velocity


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Don’t have time to read? Check out the podcast where I discuss the best of what I learned about urban planning, architecture, and real estate development, in less than 10 minutes.

Old School

I was talking to an architect the other day, and he and I were talking about the patterns of development. …


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I stumbled across this pdf called, “Our Cities Ourselves — The Future Of Transportation In Urban Life.” It’s a 23-page document. There’s a couple of gems here. Specifically their 8 principles for how we can remake our cities livability.

Develop Neighborhoods That Promote Walking

Shorten street crossings

Crossing five-lane highways are daunting. We’ve all done it, and we feel out of place. When considering neighborhoods that promote walking 20’s plenty.

Emphasize pedestrian safety and convenience

Who are we building for? Humans or cars? Every journey starts and ends on foot. Prioritize those points of the journey and more people will start walking.

Encourage ground level activity and places to relax

Walking doesn’t have to be the “up-hill both ways in the…


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Everyone has hurdles they need to jump. Daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. We have projects and goals that we’d like to accomplish. We need to accomplish.

Before you even get to the meeting, you need to validate your thinking. As you’re developing an idea or project, recognize that the work is an import-export process. Right before you export, ask yourself, “can my idea clear these 3 hurdles?”

  1. Is it differentiated?
  2. Is it relevant?
  3. Is it sustainable?

Is It Differentiated?

Is your idea different? Do you have the opportunity to make it different? Being different means that you stand out in the marketplace. It…


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Don’t have time to read? Check out the podcast where I discuss the best of what I learned about urban planning, architecture, and real estate development, in less than 10 minutes.

Tiny Forests Solve Big Problem?

An article in Nat Geo, “Why ‘tiny forests’ are popping up in big cities” by Elizabeth Hewitt discusses how tiny forests are appearing in big cities.

I love building and thinking incrementally. Here we have incremental forest building and how we can improve the microclimate in our community by building these dense bio-rich tiny forests?

A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at…


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The value of your company used to be a factor of your price minus the cost to produce. If you make a big margin, then you’re probably more profitable and you’ve created a valuable business.

That’s not true anymore. More companies that make zero dollars are going public than since the dot-com era.


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When we’re planning or evaluating a neighborhood, what makes it “good?” Good of course is subjective and usually measured with qualitative data. Trees! Fewer cars? People! Space? White picket fences! Sidewalks?

What if we wanted to try to get just a little more quantitative?

I’ve got 3 formulas I like. I’m not even sure if formulas are the right word. Calculations? When I’m walking around a neighborhood and I say to myself, “I like this”, I do a quick check with these calculations to help me triangulate what I like.

1. Experience Velocity

This is the measurement of how people are moving through…

Kyle Gulau

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