Coby Lefkowitz


A manifesto for developers of the built environment

Glenwood Park in Atlanta, a new urbanist masterplanned community. Source: TSW Design

When thinking about real estate, many might assume that it’s primarily a tangible financial instrument; a tool of speculation. That wealth building comes before the physical structure that underlies the investment. After all, this is what the loudest voices in the field today seem to say. People are drawn into…


In defense of the humble, but mighty, accessory dwelling unit

A recently completed ADU in Austin, Texas, by JH Architecture. Source: Jeff Wilson Photography / Making Modern Home

America is in the midst of a desperate housing crisis. While this, alarmingly, isn’t yet a reality broadly accepted by society, this reality is unyielding. Much like the state of climate change discourse a decade or two ago, the facts are incorruptible, and will continue to threaten our neighbors around…


Why cities benefit from ornamental design

Little Island on New York’s Hudson River overlooking the Meatpacking District,

All bad cities are alike; Each great city is great in its own way. Or something like that. All else equal, the more good things a city has, whether that be buildings, institutions, universities, restaurants, parks, bars, novel attractions or any of a thousand other categories, the better that place…


Creating a city for 5 million people isn’t utopian, but building it in the desert might be

Street in Telosa replete with flying cars, delivery robots and saguaro cactuses. Source: BIG

Utopias are easily dismissed. Part of this is in the name. Definitionally, utopia means “no place.” Coined by Thomas More in his 1516 classic, utopias aren’t meant to exist in the real world. …

New market-rate housing, improperly labeled ‘luxury’ can go a long way towards decreasing rents while affordable housing catches up

The Cevallos Lofts in San Antonio, where new two bedroom apartments rent for ~$1,500. Source: Apartment Finder &

Few words are capable of inspiring strong oppositional responses when mentioned. On their own, words are usually anodyne, or broadly accepted to have good or bad connotations. While we may visualize something when we hear the words rose, book, or couch, there’s hardly much evocative polarity associated with them.


The death of central business districts is here, and with it comes an opportunity to reshape our cities

Picture a typical downtown in your mind. What do you see? Historically, it may have been soaring peaks of commercial skyscrapers, the bustle of commuters running to and from the office, and perhaps a local institution like a famed restaurant, theatre, or place of cultural significance. Most, however, wouldn’t immediately…


Why the well-being of cities depends on a people-first approach

Strøget in Copenhagen, one of the first streets to re-pedestrianize after being overtaken by cars.

For the last 70 years, cities around the world have been torn apart, retrofitted, and codified to accommodate 2-ton vehicles at the expense of all other modes of transportation. These deeply engrained patterns have dispersed people and businesses out to a sprawling landscape of dependency, diluted our places of vibrancy…


Wall Street is an easy scapegoat. The real villain lives much closer to home.

Overhead view of a typical residential street. Source:

Concerns over high housing prices have been ubiquitous this past year. Even the White House is talking about it. Finger-pointing has increased commensurately to pin blame on the rise. Explanations have ranged from low interest rates, a lack of supply, and pent-up demand (likely a combination of these factors), to…


Why EV’s are false prophets in the fight for a better world

A Tesla driving in freeway traffic
Source: Motortrend

Few narratives in the last decade have generated as much momentum as that of electric vehicles. They’ve been heralded as a revolution. Saviors to our gasoline addiction and warriors in the fight for a more sustainable world. Federal departments have noted they have the potential to dramatically improve public health…

Coby Lefkowitz

Urbanist, Developer & Writer working to create more sustainable, equitable and people-oriented places.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store