This page is a list of essays I intend to write. Some of them will happen, some won’t, and some will change scope. They are in no order of significance. If you’d like to request a post, you can tweet about it or email daniel@maximumnewyork.com. If you want to bribe me to ensure or hurry along a post, you can also do that (just leave a note with your bribe).

» The queue also exists as a live Twitter thread


  • Why “market rate housing” is used as a synonym for “expensive,” and why this is wrong and a weaselly thing to do. How developers could better serve the polity by finding a better word than “luxury units” to describe their apartment offerings. These might be two separate essays.

  • All policy choices have trade-offs. Many people like to sell their policies as trade-off-less solutions. My framing is more like: I want to trade in our current set of problems for a different set of problems. Better problems. Government should be in the business of seeking ever better problems to solve, not trying to find policy panaceas.

  • The pro-housing movement needs explicit population number targets, and more explicit housing unit targets. Why this would be a good rhetorical move.

  • Instead of thinking forward from the status quo, think backwards from an ambitious vision. This applied to NYC.

  • The overview effect is the psychological impact, described by many astronauts, of seeing Earth suspended and alone in the blackness of space. But there are similar feelings terrestrially, a feeling that what we have is at once precious and vulnerable, glorious but threatened. An essay on the terrestrial overview effect, experienced from NYC.

  • All of NYC’s policy areas have excellent people working in them already. If you want to improve the city but feel overwhelmed, don’t worry. Join the others. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many high achievers default to “I must found a thing and start from scratch,” but this mindset likely deters civic engagement. Find an extant group and start off slowly. Give a solid B- effort and scale up later.

  • Despite the point directly above, there is still room for new visions. Clearly current efforts have not (yet) succeeded in bringing about necessary civic change in NYC. Why is that? Are we missing something new yet to be developed, or do we just need to wait on current efforts to bloom?

  • How do you start an NYC local government scene with tcot people and integrate it into the fabric of the city? Or: how to give tcot people civic courage.

  • Civic gardening: like digital gardening, but for the polity! Or: Pick up trash, and be seen doing it.

  • Local governance in NYC is vital to the future of the United States and the world, and it is weird that people with time, intellect, and resources don’t engage with it in droves. The city government has the odd distinction of being both a local government (and therefore low prestige and ignored by many) and one of the most consequential governments in the world. Usually those don’t go together.

  • A short story where I tell you of 1989, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down NYC’s central governing body. The city government as we know it today arose only ~30 years ago! I think this story is enormous and has great lessons for modern civic builders, but approximately five people know about it.

  • Predicting the future: what we can say with high confidence about NYC in 2030, from today’s perspective.

  • Markets operate on a higher Pace Layer than the government. Explicitly recognizing this, and what it implies, can help individuals more successfully engage with the polity.

  • A “Great Builder Theory” for modern NYC: A comparison of NYC’s Robert Moses and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, to produce a theoretical framework for NYC’s leaders who are interested in transforming the city for the 21st century. This will be a long-term (6-8 month) research project that centers around Robert Caro’s The Power Broker (1974) and Lee Kuan Yew’s From Third World to First: The Singapore Story (2000), although other sources will be pulled in too. This project is explicitly available for sponsorship in the $5-25k or 1-6 ETH range, depending on particulars. Email me or DM me on Twitter if interested!

  • An analysis of NYC’s various agencies (Department of Sanitation, Transportation, etc) using Samo Burja’s “live vs. dead players” lens from his Great Founder Theory. If an agency is a dead player, I would list concretes that could demonstrate revivification (if such a thing could be accomplished).1

  • NYC is haunted by the ghosts of both Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, and both need to be exorcised to move forward. These two are often described as at-odds, but their legacies work together to prevent NYC’s growth.

Notes

  1. See page 68 of Burja’s Great Founder Theory manuscript