Mindblown: a blog about philosophy.

  • Rezoning for Student Housing near UT Dallas

    Rezoning for Student Housing near UT Dallas

    The image above is an image from UT Dallas’ Master Plan. The subject parcel of this post is specifically designated “Potential Future Acquisition”. Yesterday was a City Planning Commission meeting to consider whether a landowner will be able to build off-campus student housing nearby UT Dallas. Normally it sounds boring and fairly straightforward. Not this […]

  • Realigning a Toastmasters District

    Realigning a Toastmasters District

    As a fun side project, I decided to write some code to realign my Toastmasters district. I’m also on the realignment committee so the project will hopefully get some real-world use. For reference, I’ve posted the code here on GitHub: https://github.com/LouisRBurns/Toastmasters_district_realignment The technical details for implementing it are there. Here, I wanted to reflect on […]

  • A Letter to the Texas Redistricting Committee

    A Letter to the Texas Redistricting Committee

    I apologize that I haven’t posted anything in about a year because, you know, pandemic. I’ll catch up on what I’ve been doing later but I wanted to drop a note that I’m back at it. I got an email from Fair Vote today encouraging us to write our state legislators and ask them to […]

  • Starting to Playtest the Walkability Game

    Starting to Playtest the Walkability Game

    I finished printing out a set of pieces, wrote some rules, and we finally began playtesting. The goal of playtesting is to figure out what adjustments you need to make to make the game work better. See where the sticking points are. Figure out if the game is unbalanced for certain players or strategies. At […]

  • More Building Models and Maps

    More Building Models and Maps

    I’ve gone through a couple more iterations of building types and now the maps. I’ve also started working on the next version of the mechanics and rules. One of the central challenges of the game is to integrate community well-being with economic development. That’s essentially internalizing an externality. In other words, recognizing a systemic value […]

  • Prototyping Game Building Types with 3D Printing

    Prototyping Game Building Types with 3D Printing

    For the game I’m developing, I’m prototyping a selection of the different building types available from the Missing Middle housing types. There is also Missing Middle retail building types: I’m trying to capture the essence of these dynamics in the game. I’m partial toward fourplexes for a number of reasons I wrote about earlier. Accessory […]

  • Fourplexes and Flexibility

    Fourplexes and Flexibility

    Fourplexes have many advantages for communities and their residents. Some of the advantages, when compared generally to single-family on the same parcel size, are: Higher property values and tax income Promote the density needed for retail investment and therefore walkability Great first-time investor owner-occupied opportunities (aka house hacking) Consolidated maintenance Can be financed through single-family […]

  • Prototyping a City Game

    If you’ve ever been part of a public participation process you know how deeply unsatisfying it can be. Too often, your voice is reduced to a sticky note or a vote with little discussion or nuance emerging from the process. While learning is one of my greatest pleasures in life, how we learn and grow […]

  • How to Get Started as a Real Estate Developer

    How to Get Started as a Real Estate Developer

    Toward the end of a previous post, I briefly mentioned the concept of the minimum viable developer and first projects. I want to focus and expand on that concept for any who are looking to get started as a real estate developer. Every developer or investor I have heard or read about started as some […]

  • Can Your City Afford Another Drive-Through?

    Can Your City Afford Another Drive-Through?

    Recently in Richardson, the city voted to approve a zoning change to allow for three new drive-throughs on a parcel that contains a failed mall. Drive-throughs are fairly ubiquitous in that area but the council had still voted to continue the motion until the developer took more time to engage with the community and come […]

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