Planning

Welcome to Austin

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I'm going to make a little deviation from the bulk of the "Welcome to..." stories you see below, which mostly focus on South Side Chicago neighborhoods (the exceptions are Rosemont, in Chicago's northwest suburbs, and Park Forest, in the south suburbs).  read more »

Let Cities Be What They Want to Be

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An on-line site called the Dumber, er, I mean Intelligancer says that, for cities to survive, developers must be allowed to convert office buildings into housing.  read more »

Washington, Colorado, and Oregon: The Next Domestic Outmigration Wave?

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The newly published US Census Bureau state and District of Columbia population estimates contain some surprises about changing growth and net domestic migration (movement between states) patterns.  read more »

Home Building and Developing in The New Normal

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In a recent YouTube video Avoid These Cities (Housing Crash 2022) EPB Research provides an analysis of the national market. In general, West Coast is bad and East Coast is OK, especially the southeast. The overly regulated western states with higher raw land prices and huge city fees result in higher home prices.  read more »

Density and the Fertility Trap

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Yesterday, Tyler Cowan mentioned in the Marginal Revolution blog that he wished books on urban areas “would spend more time discussing whether dense urban areas are simply a fertility trap.”  read more »

Low Speed Fail

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Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice as she grew taller and taller in Wonderland.

Curiouser and curiouser, said everyone paying even the slightest attention as the high-speed rail fantasy grew bigger and more expensive and further behind schedule and more incomprehensible and more ludicrous and now, yes, even possibly taller and taller in California.  read more »

A Better Future

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In earlier times, even with a soaring population, Americans knew how to accommodate housing demand. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries we built cities from scratch along the frontier. The existing major urban centers—Boston, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia—all expanded rapidly, both by density and expansion into land on the periphery.  read more »

Housing Affordability in California: Part 3 — A Way Forward

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Urban containment has significant costs. In commenting on the association between London’s urban growth boundary,1 and the higher costs of housing, The Economist said: “Suburbs rarely cease growing of their own accord. The only reliable way to stop them, it turns out, is to stop them forcefully.  read more »

“Straight Line Crazy” offers insights for post-pandemic real estate

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This won’t start off about real estate but it will end there — like so much of life.

At the Shed in Hudson Yards, “Straight Line Crazy” is enjoying a sold-out run of months, if not longer. It is the story of Robert Moses, who outfoxed every politician in New York to create a proprietary stream of public money that financed his role as the city’s lynchpin builder from the 1920s into the 1960s.  read more »

Housing Affordability in California: Part 2 — Urban Land Markets

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Harvard’s William Alonso showed that the value of residential land tends to increase from the rural uses on the urban fringe1 to centers of economic activity, such as central business districts.2  read more »