Loan application.

Before serving time for mortgage fraud, Toby Groves seemed like the last person who would get into that kind of trouble. His older brother had been sentenced for the same crime twenty years earlier, and Toby had seen how it destroyed his family. He swore he’d never make a similar mistake.

Then in 2003, the company he’d founded ran into problems. Out of a sense of responsibility to his employees and their families, Toby took out a loan on his own house to make up the shortfall. He realized that he wouldn’t get the loan if he told…


How suburban sprawl gets special treatment in our tax code

This is the third post in a series about government policies that encouraged suburban growth in the US. You can find the first part here and the second one here.

Suburban sprawl gets preferential tax treatment in the US. As a result, it is cheaper to spend a dollar on housing than on something else, so it encourages people to spend more money on housing. The tax code also favors new construction over renovation and infill development.

These protections are pervasive throughout federal and state tax codes, but a few rules stand out:

  1. homeowners can deduct their property and mortgage…


How government mortgage policy determined where you live

The government exercises tremendous power over residential design in the US. Its influence is nearly invisible, because it works through complex financing programs, insurance incentives, and secondary markets. These mechanisms go unnoticed, but their effect is hard to miss — they remade the United States into a nation of sprawling suburbs.

This is the second post in a series about government policies that encouraged suburban growth in the US. You can find the first post here.

What image springs to mind when you picture “federally subsidized housing”? …


A forgotten history of how the government created suburbia

In primary school, one of my friends lived in a duplex. This fact blew my mind. To my inexperienced 7-year-old mind, a duplex barely registered as a house. Her family shared a driveway with their neighbors, and their yard was tiny. It was the first house I’d ever seen that shared a wall with its neighbors. I’d seen apartments of course, but in my mind those were temporary, for people who who were saving up to buy a “real” home. …


You can write your Webpack config in Typescript, and it’ll save you a huge amount of pain. Webpack’s docs would lead you to believe that using Typescript requires a hacky customized set up, but in fact it’s as simple as installing a single module and changing your extensions from .js to .ts!

If you’re familiar with the pains of Webpack and you just want to know how to write your config in Typescript, you can skip to the second section, Typescript to the Rescue.

Webpack is notoriously complex. Just ask the authors:

Problems to solve: Webpack is too low level…


I love doing chores. The more time-consuming they are, the better. I jump at opportunities to empty the dishwasher, and grocery shopping is a highlight of my week. I don’t even mind sorting the trash, as long as I have my phone and some earbuds handy.

I used to dread housework as much as the next person. But that all changed when John introduced me to podcasts and audiobooks two years ago. Mundane tasks have become opportunities to learn, to relax, and to listen to stories I might never hear otherwise.

Digital audio is one of the best additions I’ve…


In my previous post, I compiled a list of reasons why on-demand audio is great. Evangelism works best when you make it easy to hit the ground running, so here are a few tips and recommendations. Hopefully this will lower the activation energy for getting started.

Podcasts

You can download my complete list of subscriptions as an opml file or as more readable json.

  • You should be able to load the opml into most podcast apps by going into Settings and finding some sort of “import” button.
  • As a warning, there are 100+ subscriptions in there of varying quality, so you…


The way we live is shaped by our infrastructure — the public spaces, building codes, and utilities that serve a city or region. It can act as the foundation for thriving communities, but it can also establish unhealthy patterns when designed poorly.

For decades, San Francisco’s waterfront was dominated by the massive Embarcadero Freeway. The Ferry Building was hidden in the shadow of a grungy overpass, and the double decker highway blocked residents’ access to the bay all along the eastern edge of the peninsula. One local writer said the freeway “shunted pedestrians through a dark, sooty gauntlet between downtown…

Devon Marisa Zuegel

Blog moved to: devonzuegel.com • Twitter: twitter.com/devonzuegel

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