Policy

The New Deal at 75: An Inspiration, Not a Blueprint

newdeal1.png

Whatever your political perspective, Americans need to admire the New Deal for, if nothing else, its ambitious agenda. In a way unparalleled in the 20th Century, the New Deal left us a legacy of achievement – one that we can still see in big cities like San Francisco and small towns like Wishek, North Dakota.  read more »

Subjects:

Coronavirus Regional Economic Impacts and Policy Responses

airport-terminal-unsplash.jpg

Most regions were beginning to see an acceleration in economic growth during January and February 2020. The 20-state Heartland was poised to see a notable improvement in economic performance that will now be tested due to public health measures implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The additional $200 billion in purchases of grain, industrial supplies and manufactured products over the next two years that China agreed to in the Phase I trade deal will benefit the Heartland greater than any other region of the nation.  read more »

Studying the Wrong Cities Will Lead to Repeating Their Mistakes

San_Francisco-s_Painted_Ladies.jpg

The junket factor must be the only logical criteria by which various industry “study tours” overseas are planned. How else to explain how entirely inappropriate the choices are? The list of cities identified for “study” by Australian development and planning industry bodies reads like the pages of a glossy weekend travel magazine: we’ve seen study tours to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, London, Vancouver and (of course) Portland. The purpose? One recent blurb promises it is “to expand our horizons and bring new ideas back to Aussie shores.”  read more »

WSDOT Wants Lawmakers to Remove Congestion Relief as a Transportation Policy Goal

wsdot.jpg

This week, WSDOT leadership testified before the House Committee on Transportation in support of House Bill 2688, which removes the goal of congestion relief from the state’s transportation policy goals and replaces the rest. The agency said the bill supports its strategic plan, pictured in the diagram.  read more »

The Luxury City is Going Bust

high-rise-apartments-lower-manhattan.jpg

In a year when two boosters of the “luxury city,” Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, are vying to run the whole country, the very model that created their “success” is slowly unraveling. After roughly 20 years of big-city progress, measured by economic growth and demographic progress, the dense urban centers, including New York, are again teetering on the brink of decline.  read more »

The Next Economy: Following the Trail of U.S. Job Growth

Where-the-jobs-went-1024x728.jpg

A decade ago, in the wake of the Great Recession, Lee County, Florida was dubbed “the foreclosure capital of the country” by the national media, the poster child for all that had gone wrong with the American economy.  read more »

Against the Current on LA River—When Will ‘Progressives’ Learn to Listen?

la-river_01.jpg
L.A. River headwaters, left

Frank Gehry doesn’t have any particular penchant for the concrete that lines the LA River. The world-class architect and designer does, however, bring a practical appreciation for the purpose of that concrete: It’s the stuff that provides flood control for homes and businesses along an 11-mile stretch through the heart of LA that would otherwise stand to be inundated in particularly heavy rains.  read more »

Make America Affordable Again

make-housing-affordable_otoole.png

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked for comments on eliminating regulatory barriers to affordable housing. This is my response.  read more »

Home Ownership: Cornerstone of Singapore’s Housing Policy

Singapore_Central_Business_District_viewed_from_UOB_Plaza_2.jpg

The following is the Introduction to the 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which rates housing affordability in more than 300 metropolitan markets in eight nations in the third quarter of 2019. This Introduction relies on Internet and academic sources and information from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) of Singapore.  read more »

Subjects:

Sydney High-Density Planning

Clifftop_hilly_homes_in_Vaucluse_eastern_suburbs_Sydney_Australia.jpg

High-density planning policies have become fashionable and Sydney planners are among the most enthusiastic adopters. New South Wales Government authorities claim that high density policies result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (gge), provide improved housing affordability and result in reduced traffic congestion. No evidence has been provided to justify these assertions. Such claims need to be investigated as well as density’s detrimental effect on amenity and quality of life should also be investigated.  read more »