Jake's blog

Let's talk about why America doesn't build traditional small towns anymore.

A question I get asked a lot is, "why don't they build charming small towns in America anymore? Why are there only Stepford Wife suburbs and major cities?" More than anything, it's because of parking laws. I'll illustrate using two small towns. If you'll follow me across the country, I'm going to show you the town square of Healdsburg, California, an hour and a half to the north of San Francisco. Healdsburg was founded in 1857 as a farming community on the Russian River; it was connected to San Francisco by railway in 1872. Healdsburg's traditional town layout is pretty...

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So, I think I'd like to make a book of this Lost Subways project.

I've decided that I'm going to turn The Lost Subways of North America into a book, featuring a collection of the maps that I've put up here, accompanied by vignettes of North American cities past and present. It's the kind of thing that'll look good on your coffee table.  Details to come when I find a publisher who's willing to take it. (Note: if you work for a publisher and you're reading this, my agent is Ellen Scordato at Stonesong.)

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The Lost Subways of North America: Boston, Kansas City and Toronto


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.  I've resolved to turn this project into a book, and so you'll be seeing more of these. The latest maps: Toronto, 1985 Toronto's subway system expansion stalled in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Money was short, the densest parts of the Greater Toronto Area were adequately served by the Yonge and Bloor subways, and the Toronto Transit Commission was experimenting with maglev lines to satisfy the rapid transit needs of the suburbs.  (The result of the ultimately unsuccessful maglev was the Scarborough RT, now known as Line 3.)  After maglev petered out, the Progressive Conservative Party...

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Hello BoingBoing readers!

Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. Some FAQ answers: Why are you doing this? I got stuck in traffic one day when I was living in L.A., and started wondering, "just why on Earth doesn't LA have good public transit?"  The answer, or course, is that there used to be 1000 miles of light rail that eventually closed because it wasn't profitable - and neither the City nor the County wanted to pay to support a failing private business. Where do you get all this information? Archival research, mostly.  I live in New York, so I have the...

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I put together a piece for the Guardian on modern vs. past mass transit maps.

Check it out here.

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