Housing

How We Are Kluging the World's Growth Process

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The quirks of software and operating systems that we seem to experience on a daily basis are the result of Kluges – almost all software is written with fixes that work for a particular problem, often without knowing exactly why that fix works. As both a land planner and developer of high level precision design and engineering software, I do not allow kluged fixes – for either business.  read more »

Progressive Cities: Home of the Worst Housing Inequality

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America's most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics.  read more »

Bringing Soviet Planning to New York City

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to bring the same policies that worked so well in the Soviet Union, and more recently in Venezuela, to New York City. “If I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed,” he says. “And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents.”  read more »

A Layman's Guide To Houston After Harvey: Don't Throw The Opportunity Baby Out With The Stormwater

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the disastrous flooding, Houston has come under extreme scrutiny. Some in the global, national as well as local media assaulted the area's flood control system and its development model, criticisms that were echoed by some in the local area.

Much of the current debate starts from a firm misunderstanding of the region’s realities. This could lead to policies that ultimately undermine the keys that have propelled the region’s success. Below is a primer to inform future discussions of Houston’s future trajectory.

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Does the Tax Code Favor Homeowners?

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For many years, a common complaint has been that the provisions of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, and most state income tax codes, favor homeownership in the form of major tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes. With the exception of those who reside in government housing of some type (subsidized apartments, public college dormitories, military housing, jails and penitentiaries), the homeless, almost all U.S. residents either live in a home they, or their family, owns or is paying off the mortgage, or they rent.  read more »

Subjects:

The Trouble With The Congress For New Urbanism

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I’ve been asked to submit a proposal for the next Congress for New Urbanism in May of 2018 by one of the organizers in Savannah, Georgia. I declined the first two times I was asked, then reluctantly agreed to offer a tentative outline the third time I was approached. I’m not convinced the committee will have much use for what I have to say.  read more »

Subjects:

California Politicians Not Serious About Fixing Housing Crisis

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California’s political leaders, having ignored and even abetted our housing shortage, now pretend that they will “solve it.” Don’t bet on it.  read more »

The South's Big Cities Moment

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August’s tragic events in Charlottesville kickstarted a somber debate about the appropriate way to commemorate the war that gave all Americans their freedom. It also triggered a conversation about whether the south’s legacy of rebellion and independence – with slavery a painful and regretful part of its past – is a legacy worth remembering.  read more »

U.S. Cities Have A Glut Of High-Rises And Still Lack Affordable Housing

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Perhaps nothing thrills mayors and urban boosters like the notion of endless towers rising above their city centers. And to be sure, new high-rise residential construction has been among the hottest areas for real estate investors, particularly those from abroad, with high-end products accounting for 8o% of all new construction.

Yet this is not an entirely high-end country, and these products, particularly the luxury high-rises in cities, largely depend on a small segment of the population that can afford such digs.  read more »

Forget the Urban Stereotypes: What Millennial America Really Looks Like

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Perhaps no generation has been more spoken for than millennials. In the mainstream press, they are almost universally portrayed as aspiring urbanistas, waiting to move into the nation’s dense and expensive core cities.

Yet like so many stereotypes — often created by wishful thinking — this one is generally exaggerated and even essentially wrong. We now have a solid 15 years of data on the growth of young people ages 20-34, from 2000 to 2015, which covers millennials over the time they entered college, got their first jobs and, in some cases, started families.  read more »