Housing

The Bifurcated City

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After drifting toward decrepitude since the 1970s, many core cities have experienced real, often bracing, turnarounds. Yet concern is growing that the revitalization of parts of these cities has unevenly benefited some residents at the expense of others. The crucial, and often ignored, question remains whether the policies that have helped spark urban revivals have improved conditions for the greatest number of residents.  read more »

Low-Density Fire Buffer

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Someone in Bend must be reading this blog, or at least thinking along the same lines. In 2017, after the Wine Country fires had burned homes in Santa Rose, the Antiplanner noted that the problem was the homes were too dense and needed a buffer of low-density homes around them. I made the same point after the Camp Fire burned homes in Paradise.

Now Deschutes County is zoning a buffer between Bend and the national forest for low-density housing.  read more »

Pittsburgh & Rochester: Best 2018 International Housing Affordability

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Pittsburgh and Rochester have the best housing affordability among 91 major markets (metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population) in eight nations. Both have a median house price that is 2.6 times the median household income, a measure called the Median Multiple. This is the conclusion of the 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which rates housing markets based on estimates from the 3rd quarter of 2018.  read more »

The Democrats Finally Won the Suburbs. Now Will They Destroy Them?

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The Democratic Party’s triumphal romp through suburbia was the big story of the midterms.

In 2016 the suburbs, home to the majority of American voters, voted 50 to 45 for Donald Trump; this year, 52 percent went Democratic.  read more »

Can High-Speed Rail Make Housing Affordable?

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UCLA management professor Jerry Nickerson thinks he has found a solution to California’s housing affordability problems: high-speed rail. Based on years of data, he has concluded that some Japanese who work in Tokyo and other expensive cities make long commutes on high-speed trains to more affordable cities elsewhere in the country.  read more »

Emmanuel Newsom?

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A youthful and handsome appearance, the blessings of the autocrats and clerics of our times, and a fawning media — all these belonged to French President Emmanuel Macron just a year ago. He was praised as everything from the “new leader of the Free World” to Europe’s Reagan.

Today Macron’s presidency is adrift, paralyzed by grassroots opposition to his policies — mostly from the middle and working classes — and a popularity rating about half of that suffered by Donald Trump. Is this the fate that awaits our new governor, Gavin Newsom?  read more »

Suburbs and Exurbs Dominate Mid-Decade Millennial Growth

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America’s suburbs and exurbs continue to dominate population growth among post-college Millennials, those aged 25 to 34 in the 53 major metropolitan areas. This is indicated by data in the just released 2013/2017 American Community Survey (ACS), which provides a mid-decade snapshot of US demography. With its middle sample year of 2015, the 2013/2017 ACS is most representative of the middle of the decade between the 2010 and 2020 censuses (Note 1).  read more »

Centennial at Tejon Ranch

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I was included in an e-mail thread last week about a 19,000 unit master planned community on the far edge of Los Angeles County. There’s an on-going debate about whether this is part of California’s housing solution or part of the problem. Centennial is one of three proposed residential developments at Tejon Ranch. It hugs the border of Kern County thirty miles outside of Bakersfield and three mountain ranges from LA proper. After a couple of decades of negotiations it was finally approved by the authorities.  read more »

Hong Kong’s Micro-Flat Bust: Set to Spread?

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Hong Kong’s infatuation with multi-million dollar shoebox homes is over as quickly as it began,” trumpets a December 21 headline in the South China Morning Post. According to Hong Kong’s largest English language newspaper, since 2016, there has been a spate of micro-flats construction, with 18 times as many built this year as in 2013. Micro-flats typically have less than 200 square feet of living space (19 square meters).  read more »

Subjects:

How to Sell Forced Densification to Libertarians

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When cities pass zoning rules (as Missoula, Portland, and many Portland suburbs have done) mandating minimum-density zoning — so that people are forced to either build high-density housing in existing low-density neighborhoods or build nothing at all — libertarians lead the charge against such rules. But urban planners have managed to achieve the same result, and gain the support of some who consider themselves libertarian, by:  read more »