planning

Satellite Cities for Beijing? Yes, But....

China Daily ran an article on the continuing urbanization of Beijing. In Build upward or outward: City’s growth dilemma, Daniel Garst notes that Beijing is not as centralized as other urban areas, with its multiple business districts and comparatively low density in its inner areas.  read more »

Property Values 11 Times Higher Across Portland's Urban Growth Boundary

One of the starkest impacts of smart growth policies is the huge differentials in property prices that occur on virtually adjacent properties on either side of an urban growth boundary.  read more »

City of Austin Approves Big Greenfield Development

Despite its smart growth policies, the city of Austin has approved a new development on the urban fringe that will include new detached housing starting at $115,000.

Austin is the third fastest growing metropolitan area with more than 1,000,000 residents in the United States, following Raleigh, North Carolina and Las Vegas. The city of Austin accounted for 53% (672,000) of the metropolitan area's 1.27 million population in 2000, but has seen more than 70% of the growth since that time go to the suburbs. Now the metropolitan area has 1.65 million people, and the city has 785,000.  read more »

Year 1959

Get a glass of wine. Then click on this link, which plays a video called Community Growth, created in 1959.

Once you've seen the video, read on…

You're probably sitting with a puzzled look – 1959? Aren’t these the exact same issues that are plaguing us today? Don’t those 1959 developments look like many of today’s latest developments? Even the way they bulldozed through the land and stick-built the homes looks just like the methods used today!  read more »

$300,000-$400,000 for a Levittowner?

An article in The Wall Street Journal details the difficulties that were faced by home owners caught in the Goldman Sachs/John Paulson finance scheme ("The Busted Homes Behind a Big Bet"). The article calls the situation a "dizzyingly complex transaction, involving 90 bonds and a 65-page deal sheet. But it all boiled down to whether people ...  read more »

Drew Carey and John Stossel Tell Cleveland to Learn From Houston

What started as a humble video segment for Reason TV has mushroomed into a lot of positive PR for Houston (and less than positive for Cleveland).  It started with famous actor and comedian Drew Carey working with the libertarian Reason Foundation on a video series about saving Cleveland, his hometown.  Houston is held up as a "best practice" example for land use regulation.  There are lots of suggestions and positive comparisons to Houston on red tape (minutes 29:20 thru 32), zoning  read more »

Queensland: Housing Relief on the Horizon?

Queensland might be thought of as the Florida of Australia. Like Florida, Queensland is the "Sunshine state." For years, Queensland has been the fastest growing state in the nation, just as Florida has been the fastest growing large state in the United States. The Gold Coast in Southeast Queensland might be characterized as Miami Beach on steroids.  read more »

Avoiding Housing Bubbles: Regulating the (Land Use) Regulators

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernacke called for stronger regulation to avoid future asset bubbles, such as the housing bubble that precipitated the international financial crisis (the Great Recession) in an Atlanta speech.  read more »

A Threat To Home Owners Associations

In the 1990s, just about the only site amenity that most suburban developments offered was a fancy entrance monument. Usually, there were no other additions beyond ordinance minimums and even those weren’t generally elaborate. Some of these monuments did cost millions, but once past the gilded gates, the seduction ended, and residents were greeted by familiar monotonous cookie cutter subdivisions.  read more »

Smart Growth Places 3rd in Houston Mayor's Race

Houston city councilman Peter Brown, unique as a devotee of smart growth (compact development) in this city of light land use regulation, placed third in the mayoral election yesterday. Brown had long advocated Portland-style smart growth land use and development policies for the city of Houston and looked likely to garner the most votes in the four-way race. Brown, an architect and urban planner, spent more than $3 million of his own money in the election.  read more »