Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

The Greater Marin (TGM) is a Marin County-centric blog, the aim of which is to raise urban issues in Marin and beyond.  Started by David Edmondson in 2011, the blog looks to fill the gap in urbanist thought that seems to exist in Marin County.

Why are you called The Greater Marin?

For two reasons.  First, Marin County is pretty great, but it can certainly be greater: there is no reason it should be limited to the form it has.  Amidst talk of “full build-out” in our towns, as well as our (justified) pride of place, we Marinites risk being blinded by our own success and resting on the laurels of the past.  We can, and must, do better.

Second, this blog is not just about Marin but is about urbanism in other places, especially my current home of Washington, DC.  It takes a somewhat liberal view of the term “Greater”, then, and assigns anything not a part of Marin as part of the Greater Marin County Area – influencing thought, commerce, and urban issues.

Marin County is great enough!  How could it be greater?

Marin is too car-dependent, too polluting, to meet its residents’ desire for a carbon-neutral existence.  Proposals for transit-oriented development in Fairfax and a streetcar in Mill Valley show a pent-up desire for urban amenities, but they need to be approached with a more critical eye than just copying what cities do.  Making our buses work, using our land for something other than parking lots, building up our downtowns into vibrant, permanent hubs of activity, and being able to live without a car: these are ways Marin could be greater.

But your author lives in Washington – how could he address problems in Marin?

Exposure to other places and the ways they have become person-centric, rather than car-centric, gives the author a different perspective on the form of Marin than he would have had he never left.  This blog is an outlet to explore how the solutions to problems beyond Marin might be applied to the problems Marin County proper: car dependency, inefficient transit, economic development, and walkability.

How can I get involved?

TGM is always looking for contributors, tips, and photos.  Comment on our posts, tag photos in Flickr with “thegreatermarin” to add them to our photostream or email us tips and contributions.  We retain the right to edit contributions and will be in touch regarding any edits beyond grammar and typos.

9 Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. ROGER THORTON says:

    Dave, why don’t you work on improving DC? You no longer live in Marin, and are not an elected representative of Marin sent to DC. So why the infatuation with Marin County. Yes, I know you used to live in San Anselmo, but you don’t anymore.

    Commenting from thousands of miles away is grandstanding, and not what we need.

    • Thanks for the feedback.

      Y’know, it’s hard to describe. DC has hundreds of people working to make it a better place. Every neighborhood has at least one blog, if not two or three, talking about development, walkability, transit, and all the rest of what I write about here. Marin, though, didn’t have any. In all honesty, before I started writing I wanted to read what the bloggers of Marin had to say but there aren’t any, other than those writing about lifestyle or the arts.

      Everything I see or read about in DC makes me think of home, so I started to write out my thinking. What would a good transit system look like in Marin? What is transit-oriented development in a bus-oriented county? Can Marin keep its character and grow at the same time? A blog seemed like the best outlet, and it grew from there. I don’t mean to grandstand, but I mean to represent a side of these debates that has largely stayed silent. It’s not perfect, but a distant voice is better than no voice.

      If you find something interesting, or something you disagree with, please comment on the article! This is supposed to be a discussion, not a monologue, and I’d love to have your perspective on things. Plenty of my readers think I’m full of it on certain issues, and they let me know. It’d be great to have your views, too.

  2. Roger says:

    I agree Dave, live and comment locally. If you feel compelled to write about Marin, move here.

  3. Richard Hall says:

    Dave – are you suggesting that your goal is to urbanize Marin? Can you elaborate on what is so objectionable to “suburban”? Or is this a personal view you hold.

    If so you might want to restrain yourself – inflicting personal views against the view of a majority, while viewpoints are welcomed, is not quite what our democracy is built upon. (Perhaps you would support a different method of governance – it’s for our own good of course?).

    Restated if you held a view that was opposition to the majority, why should your view succeed?

    • There’s nothing wrong with being a suburb, but there is something wrong if the suburb tries to accommodate cars rather than people. My goal isn’t to “urbanize” Marin but to be an activist for a person-centered Marin rather than a car-centered Marin.

      Since you’ve been all over this blog, you’ve seen what that involves in my mind: better bike lanes, better transit service, and transforming the auto-oriented areas like Corte Madera Town Center into human-centered areas. It would save money for our towns by allowing them to use their resources more efficiently. It would improve our own health by taking us to the sidewalk rather than the parking lot. And it would improve our towns’ characters by promoting strong centers.

      The places that Marin should have more of are those places like downtown San Anselmo, downtown Mill Valley, downtown Tiburon. The places that are the opposite, like Greenbrae and Larkspur Landing, have little to no character at all. I advocate for learning our own lessons and rezoning them for a low-rise, small-town character.

      But an activist is only one voice. My posts are opinion, true, so I write them as statements, but the things I write aren’t intended to be the only way. I want this blog to be part of the conversation, not the whole of the conversation.

      Put another way, if the majority opposes what I propose then they shouldn’t do what I propose. I’ll agitate for my perspective, and I’ll point out what I think are flaws in what the majority does propose, but those are the roles of an activist. Where do you get the idea I dislike the underlying principles of democracy?

  4. Richard Hall says:

    You’re right. You are entitled to your opinion. Forgive my zeal. The majority “appear” to oppose what you propose. Personally I would like to see some good fair market research or a referendum – and we can both live with the result.

    As for democracy – apologies – I used to have more faith in the process until witnessing the station area planning committee and then city council not incorporate input from many.

    • Thanks for that. You and I will likely fall on opposite sides on some issues, but I’d like for Marin to have a rich debate without personal rancor. As I said elsewhere, the strength of the debate and the process is just as important to me as the outcome.

      Thanks for taking the time read through what seems like most of my blog and comment on it. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

  5. Richard Hall says:

    Agreed. A rich, and more importantly fair – unstacked – debate.

  6. robin Segal says:

    Removed for violating comment policy. I encourage dialogue on this site, but ad hominem attacks are not permited.

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