Planning

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 »

Homeowner’s Greatest Property Right is Single-Family Zoning

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Some Confuse a Homeowner’s Greatest Property Right With How Many Uses the Homeowner can Utilize for Their Home

A homeowner’s greatest property right is not how many uses a homeowner can use their home, but neighborhood protection from uses not beneficial to single-family homes.

Dallas is Losing Homeowners  read more »

Concrete Columns Cracked

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The first phase of the Honolulu rail transit system is supposed to open at the end of this year, with trains serving nine of the planned 21 stations. But those plans may be put on hold because  read more »

Fair Park First Might Prompt 21st Century Urban Renewal, Wiping Out Neighborhoods

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Recently, exciting plans for Fair Park were unveiled at an architectural forum by Fair Park First, the nonprofit selected to transform and manage Fair Park’s transformation.  read more »

Learning From Las Vegas: Sustainable vs. Susceptible

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I hear a great deal about sustainability in the built environment that sounds both encouraging and delusional. These messages come from well intentioned environmentalists as well as corporate marketing departments. The general tone of the conversation is similar either way. Everyone can continue to live the way we do now, but by making a few minor adjustments we’ll transition away from coal, oil, and natural gas to benign materials and clean renewable energy. This transition will save households money, preserve nature, and be profitable for private enterprise.  read more »