One of the most frequently recurring justifications for densification policies (smart growth, growth management, livability, etc.) lies with the assumption that the automobile-based mobility system (Note 1) disadvantages lower income citizens. Much of the solution, according to advocates of densification is to discourage driving and orient both urbanization and the urban transportation system toward transit as well as walking and cycling. read more »
The Florida real estate developer, unburdened of state regulatory agencies, may now focus his efforts on pleasing the investment community and the local market. I recently played the role of real estate developer interviewing two consultant teams vying to help me create a new fictional community. Fortified with readings in both the New Urbanist camp and the Dispersionist camp, each team of students pitched their method of community building to me. read more »
I have long touted the sports strategy that Indianapolis used to revitalize its downtown as a model for cities to follow in terms of strategy led economic and community development. I really think it sets the benchmark in terms of how to do it, and it has been very successful.
Indy is hosting the Super Bowl on Sunday, something that is locally seen as a sort of crowning achievement of the 40 year sports journey. As part of that, the Indianapolis Star and public TV station WFYI produced an hour long documentary on the journey called “Naptown to Super City.” I think it’s a must watch for anyone who is trying to figure out to revitalize their own downtown. read more »
Bookstores and libraries have long played a central role in fostering a deeper appreciation of knowledge, and in lifelong learning. Increasingly, these places are also filling another critical need in our communities, by providing a haven for those seeking a communal connection in an ever-more isolated world.
Ray Oldenburg, author of The Great Good Place, coined the term “third place” to describe any environment outside of the home and the workplace (first and second places, respectively) where people gather for deeper interpersonal connection. Third places include, for example, places of worship, community centers, and even diners or pubs frequented by the “locals.” read more »
Nothing in the world today affects citizens more directly than the home in which they live. And when it comes to housing no piece of recent research opens more interesting avenues of investigation than the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. read more »
The UK Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced that there were only 127,780 new housing completions last year in Britain. British house building activity is down to levels of after the First World War, when reliable industrial records began, and still falling. In 1921 the British population was nearly back up to 43 million following the slaughter of the First World War. In 2011 the population of England, Wales, and Scotland is approaching 61 million people. By 2031 the British population is expected to be closer to 70 million. read more »
Preserving the "Ideal of a Property Owning Democracy:" Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey
Demographia and Performanceurbanplanning.org have just released the 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, with an introduction by Professor Robert Bruegmann of the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of Sprawl: A Compact History. read more »
It is well known that home ownership has declined in the United States from the peak of the housing bubble. According to Current Population Survey data, the national home ownership rate fell 2.9 percentage points from the peak of the bubble (4th quarter 2004) to the third quarter of 2011. read more »
“Hands off Our Land!” screams the Daily Telegraph, like some shotgun-toting red-faced farmer. The newspaper, on behalf of the reactionary toffs who form the least pleasant section of its readership, has launched a campaign directed against ‘urban sprawl’ (ie. the rest of us).
On a good day, the Telegraph serves up enlightened articles by progressive liberals like Janet Daley and Simon Heffer and Jeff Randal (I’m talking about real liberals here, not American Trotskyites). But then it disappears under the desk, drinks some devilish, bubbling potion and emerges looking like Mr Hyde, all wonky teeth and messy hair. “Hands off Our Land” is the Telegraph at its worst - a campaign to thwart the government’s all-too-modest suggestions to reform Britain’s vicious planning laws. read more »
When it comes to environmental issues, emotions often trump reasoned argument or sensible reform, especially in California. In Sacramento at our state capitol, real world impacts are abstracted into barbed soundbites. It’s the dialogue of the deaf as environmental advocates rally around our landmark California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) -- and economic interests decry it as “a job killer.” Perhaps the polarization can be put aside to ask about a specific example in the real world. Why does an old K-Mart sit vacant on Ventura’s busiest boulevard despite initial City approval for a Walmart store? All the thunder and lightning surrounding whether a Walmart belongs in Ventura is behind us. A vigorous and contentious debate (and a failed citizen initiative) have rendered the verdict that filling an empty discount retail space with a different discount retailer is a function of the market, not government regulation. read more »