Making Stuff Up at Atlantic Cities

Editor Sommer Mathis over at The Atlantic Cities has taken to making stuff up. In a recent post she reported on a dispute in the city of Seattle over minimum parking requirements relating to multi-unit buildings. She said:

Defenders of suburban-style development like Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin would argue that these young people just don't understand how their lives and desires are going to change once they start families. Single-family, detached homes with a quarter acre of land and two cars in the garage are suddenly going to look a lot better to all these idealistic, bicycle riding twenty-somethings once the reality of parenthood sets in.

Kotkin and Cox also worry that developers and city planners rushing to meet the youth-driven demand for denser housing options that don't necessarily include parking are shooting themselves in the foot.

The only problem is that I have never commented on minimum parking requirements. I checked with Joel Kotkin and he advises that he has never covered the issue.

Mathis continues (after an citing a quote by Joel Kotkin article in Forbes):

What's funny about these assumptions is their total lack of faith in the free market.

Of course, since our alleged positions on minimum parking requirements are figments of Mathis' imagination, her "free market" conclusion misses the mark. Indeed, the most destructive impact on urban land markets today is urban growth boundaries and "winner picking" land use restrictions that deny people their preferences (as my Wall Street Journal piece, California's War on Suburbia, argued on Saturday). I am most concerned about these because of their potential for hampering the metropolitan economy, interfering with upward mobility and increasing poverty (I suspect Joel would agree). Moreover, young households soon figure out that they need more than the 4th floor (or 40th floor) balcony to raise a child.