Housing

The Midwest Is Booming—Just Not Where You Think

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The Midwest is booming, but not where you might think. Kansas City, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Grand Rapids, and Des Moines are the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest—lapping bigger hubs like Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and even Chicago that are still suffering from stagnant economies and slow or even negative population growth.  read more »

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop.  read more »

Neat, Plausible, and Wrong

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The Antiplanner is frequently reminded of H.L. Mencken’s statement that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem: neat, plausible, and wrong.” Millennials, for example, blame baby boomers for ruining the world. Most of the mistakes that baby boomers made were in adopting simple and plausible but wrong solutions to complex problems.  read more »

Eyes From the Street – The Neighbourhood Fabric That Matters

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In the 50 plus years since Jane Jacobs coined the phrase “eyes on the street”, most planners have taken it as an article of faith. After all, some argue, it is common sense. But as we found out when looking at complex, self-organising systems such as cities, common sense is woefully inadequate to explain, let alone predict, outcomes.  read more »

Shovel Ready

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Many years ago I remember a television commentator saying more Americans have outhouses than computer connections. This was in the early days of dial up modems. He seemed to suggest that household computers were little more than Japanese video games, which was actually true at the time. Well, thirty years have passed and this afternoon I received a package for one of my neighbors. Evidently he ordered a shovel on the interwebs.  read more »

Suburbs Could End Up On the Cutting Edge of Urban Change

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Over the past decade, the old urban model, long favored by most media and academia, became the harbinger of the new city. We were going back to the 19th century, with rising dense urban cores, greater densities and thriving transit systems.  read more »

Deconstructing “Yimbyism”

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California’s housing crisis has emboldened grandstanding Sacramento politicians who measure their own “success” by the number of bills they can pass with their own names attached.

We now have Scott Wiener’s SB827, a bill which would use “mass transit” (defined as four buses an hour during rush hour) to eliminate local governments’ ability to zone single-family housing and to replace locally crafted General Plans with increased density levels dictated by Sacramento politicians.  read more »

The Urban Containment Effect (Zoning Effect) on Australian House Prices

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In delivering the Annual Report of the Bank to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration on August 18, 2006, (now former) Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Ian MacFarlane expressed concern about Australia’s house prices, which had escalated severely in relation to incomes.  read more »

What the Census Numbers Tell Us

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The most recent Census population estimates revealed something that the mainstream media would prefer to ignore—the slowing population growth of big cities, including New York. The New York Times, for example, trumpeted Gotham’s historically high population yet failed to mention that the city’s growth is not only dramatically slowing but also, in the case of Brooklyn, declining for the first time since 2006.  read more »

Landless Americans Are the New Serf Class

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The suburban house is the idealization of the immigrant’s dream—the vassal’s dream of his own castle. Europeans who come here are delighted by our suburbs. Not to live in an apartment! It is a universal aspiration to own your own home. —Los Angeles urbanist Edgardo Contini  read more »