Japhet Koteen

Japhet is a community builder, urban planner, real estate developer, interdisciplinarian and general advocate for internalizing externalities, fixing market failures, and leaving the world better than he found it. He likes to intervene in complex systems, create great places, and shed light on obscure subjects that matter to us all.

Tar Sands Protest is like the War on Drugs

What I am about to say may be considered blasphemy: I think the tar sands protests are misguided and will not (should not) achieve their stated goal. Before you grab your sustainably harvested bamboo pitchforks, I should say that I want the protests and arrests to continue, because there could be a much greater win, if we play it right. The Keystone XL Pipeline is not the problem. Approval of the pipeline will not be “Game over for climate” anymore than the resurgence in Afghani poppy production is “Game over for heroin addicts.”  Like America’s misguided War on Drugs, the …

Obama secretly saves world while environmentalists protest

While Bill McKibben and Daryl Hannah were getting hauled away in handcuffs in protest of the Obama administration’s decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, that same administration was quietly fixing the problem.  I don’t have an informed opinion about the pipeline, except that it’s clearly a symptom of our addiction to fossil energy and not the cause. When you start digging down to the root causes of our dependence on oil, gas, and coal, you will find government-subsidized suburban sprawl. Though curbing sprawl won’t end our addiction to cheap oil, stabilize the climate, or pull us out of the Great …

Urban Agriculture

Airport beekeeping project is a win-win-win

A new project raises bees on undeveloped land near O'Hare Airport, trains ex-convicts in beekeeping, and sells the resulting honey and beeswax.

Energy Policy

We can save $78 billion by ending oil and gas subsidies

We could save $78 billion by ending oil and gas subsidies.

Better cities could save $31 billion a year

A new report by CEO’s For Cities shows how access to destinations is more important than how fast you can drive in your car while you are trying to get there.  The report, titled, “Driven Apart: How Sprawl is lengthening our commutes and why misleading mobility measures are making things worse“ makes a couple of points, which you can probably guess from the title, but I’ll lay it out anyway:  1. People who live in sprawling metropolitan areas, spend more time commuting in their cars; and 2. Measuring traffic congestion without considering the length of the trip is not the best …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.