Housing

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

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I was recently invited to give a talk at a housing conference down in Los Angeles. Once again my fellow speakers engaged in the usual arguments. Aging Baby Boomers asserted that we need to keep building more 1957 style suburban homes on the edge of the metroplex because that’s what people want and can afford, particularly once they marry and have children. Then a group of Millennials sang their sad song of high prices and a lack of options in the places they really want to live.  read more »

America Is Moving Toward An Oligarchical Socialism

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Where do we go after Trump? This question becomes more pertinent as the soap opera administration seeks its own dramatic demise. Yet before they can seize power from the president and his now subservient party, the Democrats need to agree on what will replace Trumpism.  read more »

Auckland: “A Vancouver of the South Pacific; Beautiful, but Utterly Unaffordable”

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New Zealand’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford reasserted the coalition government’s intention to abolish Auckland’s urban growth boundary at a recent environmental summit. Environmental Defense Society (EDS) CEO Gary Taylor expressed concern about eliminating “rural-urban boundaries” (urban growth boundaries, or UGBs) altogether, an Labour Party election promise.  read more »

The Great Re-homing: Why People Are Moving Back To Their Hometowns To Start Small Businesses

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I have my gas station diet down pat. Coffee, water, bananas, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and the occasional peanut butter cup indulgence. Ok, sometimes I also eat beef jerky. You have to learn these things when you spend 10,000 miles on the road talking to small business owners for a podcast.  read more »

The Boom in Urban Housing Prices is Holding Back Economic Growth

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Last year the New York Times ran a story on Ms. Sheila James, a 62-year-old woman who commutes two hours and 50 minutes each way between her home in Stockton, California, and her $81,000-a-year government job in San Francisco.   read more »

The Battle for Houston

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Over the last half-century, Houston has developed an alternative model of urbanism. As the New Urbanist punditry mounts an assault on both suburban growth and single-family homes, Houston has embraced a light regulatory approach that reflects market forces more than ideology. But last year’s Hurricane Harvey floods severely tested the Houston model.  read more »

How We Lit The Fuse On The Population Bomb

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We’ve been here before – concerns about our capacity to house a large population are not new. But lately, hostility to rapid rates of population growth is gaining traction. There have been calls for a population inquiry and former PM Hon Tony Abbott has called for immigration (and hence population growth) to be slashed. He joins a chorus of other voices, from business to community groups. Voters are pushing back against growth and political leaders are feeling the pressure.  read more »

If New Zealand is to crack the problems of unaffordable housing, government here must look seriously at how the better parts of

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This seems about the worst possible month to be suggesting that anybody should try to emulate anything going on in America. The place seems to be going mad in ways no longer funny to laugh at from very far away.

So it’s a bit of a shame that the best lessons on infrastructure financing and affordable housing come from a few places in the United States that have really figured things out. If the exact same lessons had come from Canada, or the UK, or Estonia, Infrastructure New Zealand would have an easier time marketing its latest report.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Lisbon

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Lisbon, Portugal’s capital is located on the wide estuary of the Tagus River, with a bridge modeled after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge connecting the core city to the suburbs to the south. Lisbon also resembles San Francisco in being picturesque, with the urbanization mixed with the complex geography of the coastal waters, dominated by hills.  read more »

A Personal Segregation Story

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I've written quite a bit about segregation and its impact on cities lately, and more specifically on its impact on people of color. I won't link to everything I've done recently but encourage you to scroll through articles here, and on my Forbes site. You'll find a reasonable flavor of the things I've written about segregation's legacy in cities.

But today I wanted to use my own family history to show how it's had a personal and generational impact.  read more »