Geography is everywhere, especially in our cities. It’s why the Rust Belt used to be shiny (the Erie Canal) and why my beautiful bungalow was so damn cheap (the schools suck). It’s also the reason you probably drive everywhere even though gas is so expensive (we’ve built our cities in a way that you don’t often have a choice).

Geography answers the question, why there? It’s a useful thing to know if your job is to steer an entity of hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people, making individual decisions. “Steer” is too strong a word, though. Educated and influence those who steer my city is more like it.

You see, city planning is ultimately a democratic process. Every decision is voted on by your city council, whose members want to keep their residents happy. If city residents, aka voters, don’t understand how a city works, they can’t be expected to support the difficult decisions their elected officials need to make.

And that’s what I want to do here, just on a bigger scale. I’m a city planner who wants his city to work for all the people who live here. A city should give its residents access — access to jobs, education, community, a safe place to live, good health, and a way to participate. But this blog isn’t so much about my city; it’s about our cities. When you add it all up, we’re talking about big-picture stuff — the environment, the economy, our futures. So, if more of us understand how our cities work, maybe we’ll get the cities we deserve.