Toronto Area Housing Market Rigged Against Millennials

In a Globe and Mail column, Margaret Wente accurately describes Toronto’s housing affordability crisis and its principal cause. The Toronto area’s house prices have escalated strongly relative to incomes since the province enacted its “Places to Grow” urban planning regime.  read more »

Zoning and Urban Containment: The Need for Clarity

It is a terrible mistake to be confusing ALL zoning rules with the single true determinant of inequity in housing and economic mobility.

That is, can rural land at rural land prices, be converted to urban use?

This suppresses the price of all urban land to the extent that it is such a small input into “housing costs” relative to the cost of structures, it is very hard to push “house prices” up into unaffordable territory.  read more »


California’s Attack on Rule of Law

Morris Brown, founder of Derail (a citizen group opposed to California’s high speed rail project) writes over at Fox and Hounds Daily that newly enacted California Assembly Bill 1889 is unconstitutional.  read more »

Why Intensification Will Not Solve the Housing Affordability Crisis

Analyst Phil Hayward of Wellington, New Zealand provides a provocative perspective on why urban intensification (densification in the urban cores) is incapable of compensating for the huge house price increases attributable to urban containment boundaries.  read more »

Center for Opportunity Urbanism: America’s Housing Crisis

This video from Center for Opportunity Urbanism (COU) explores America’s housing crisis --- focusing on the new generation. COU is a non-profit dedicated to preserving the American dream and promoting upward mobility for all Americans. Check out the video and let us know what you think.  read more »

Resurrecting the New York Subway

The subway is crucial to mobility in the city of New York. Over the last 10 years, ridership increases on the subway have been more than that of all other transit services in the United States combined. It was not always this way.  read more »

Portland Columnist Calls for Abandonment of the WES Commuter Rail Line

Portland Tribune columnist (see "My View: WES is a Mess: Time to Pull the Plug") Bill MacKenzie took the occasion of a Tri-Met (transit agency for the Oregon side of the Portland, OR-WA metropolitan area) approval to purchase two used Budd Rail Diesel Cars (RDC) for the Wilsonville to Beaverton commuter rail line to call for its abandonment.Fconcl In addition to the $1.5 million purchase cost, $550,000 will be required for refurbishment.  read more »

Expo Line Expansion Fails to Stem L.A. Transit Loss

The long awaited and highly touted Santa Monica extension brought an approximately 50 percent increase in ridership of the Los Angeles Expo light rail line between June 2016 and June 2015. The extension opened in mid May 2016. In its first full month of operation, June 2016, the line carried approximately 45,900 weekday boardings (Note), up from 30,600 in June 2015, according to Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) ridership statistics.  read more »

How Demographics Explain the World

Demographics may not be destiny, but they do play a huge role in driving the fortunes of society and the economy. Sami Karam of Populyst joined me for a podcast on demographic trends around the world. The conversation ranged from the rise of China to the fall of Japan – and even why Occupy Wall Street failed to achieve lift-off.

Topics include:  read more »

Compactness and Canadians

The May, 2016 New Geography feature, Are Compact Cities More Affordable? questioned whether the Vancouver region supplies evidence that Housing-Plus-Transportation (H+T) creates affordable living climates. Todd Litman responded with a critique; here's a partial response to Todd Litman’s comments, which are rich in assertions and advice but poor on science.  read more »