planning

Circling the Brain Drain

It seems that Destination LI, “a nonprofit community building and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain vibrant centers” on Long Island, has been quietly busy in recent months.
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Thrive 2040: Toward a Less Competitive Minneapolis-St. Paul

In a Wall Street Journal commentary entitled Turning the Twin Cities Into Sim City, Katherine Kersten of the Center of the American Experiment describes how "a handful of unelected bureaucrats are gearing up to impose their vision of the ideal society on the nearly three million residents of the Minneapolis-St.  read more »

Thomas Sowell Explains the Economics of Urban Containment (Smart Growth)

Economist Thomas Sowell, who has taught at Cornell University and UCLA and has worked at the Urban Institute and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University summarizes the economics of the housing market in a recent article:

"Anyone who has taken Economics 1 knows that preventing the supply from rising to meet the demand means that prices are going to rise. Housing is no exception."  read more »

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An Economics Lesson from The New York Times

The New York Times restates basic economics in a June 9 editorial that should be required reading for planners and public officials who fail to comprehend how restrictions on housing raise prices. The Times expressed concern about the extent to which investor involvement in some markets has raised the price of houses for new homebuyers and others who actually plan to live in the houses that they purchase.  read more »

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Sydney to Abandon Radical Urban Containment Policy

The New South Wales government has proposed a new Metropolitan Strategy for the Sydney area which would significantly weaken the urban containment policy (also called urban consolidation, smart growth, livability, growth management, densification, etc.) that has driven if house prices to among the highest in the affluent New World (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) relative to household incomes.  read more »

Architecture Critic Paul Goldberger on Silicon Valley, San Jose, and Apple

Last week Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic for the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, sat down with Allison Arief of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) in downtown San Jose to discuss the state of 21st Century urbanism with a focus on Silicon Valley. Though admired the world over as the preeminent center for technological innovation, Silicon Valley has never been known for its great architecture.  read more »

A Free Range Life

Some may have never heard of the term exurbia before now. According to the free on-line dictionary it means: The exurbs collectively; the region beyond the suburbs.

Exurbia to me is an expression that defines a free range lifestyle. Where I live there is space, nature surrounds my house, I can play music as loudly as I care to, trails connect me to beautiful places, when a recipe calls for lemons or rosemary, I can walk outside and collect whatever I need, and a seasonal garden provides all the abundance I require to make healthy and organic meals.  read more »

Owen McShane: 1941-2012

Newgeography.com lost a one of its first columnists, a regular contributor and good friend with the passing of Owen McShane.

Owen McShane (Robert Ivan Owen McShane) was born in 1941 and died on March 6, 2012. His long and successful career in public policy was built on a strong academic foundation.  read more »

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Why Housing is So Expensive in Metropolitan Washington

Anyone familiar with housing affordability in the Washington (DC-VA-MD-WV) metropolitan area is aware that prices have risen strongly relative to incomes in the last decade.

However, a recent Washington Post commentary by Roger K. Lewis both exaggerates the contribution of higher construction costs and misses the principal factor that has driven up the price of housing: more restrictive land-use regulations.  read more »

Blight Envy - How Development Works in LA

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I want to live in a blighted neighborhood. Well, actually, a community redevelopment area (CRA). They used to be one and the same, but no longer. Apparently you have to live or do business in a redevelopment area to get any “love” in Los Angeles … love being when the government takes your tax dollars and gives them to someone else no more needy.

Let me explain.  read more »