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Dallas and Houston: Centers For Economic Development

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Dallas, TX–There is ongoing speculation about how cities can attract economic development, particularly the large-scale kind spurred by corporate relocations. The question is particularly important to public officials, who view such growth as a way to get instant jobs and tax revenue. The answer may lie in the examples of Houston and Dallas, two metro areas that have been among the nation’s economic growth leaders. Their causes for success are multi-faceted, and refute some of the received wisdom, but mostly boil down to their open economies…[read the rest at Forbes]

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Does President Obama Have A ‘Regionalism’ Agenda?

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

[Editor’s note: Scott wrote this article in 2012 after President Obama’s reelection, and provides a modified version here. It reviews a book claiming that the president would use his second term to usher in a “regionalism” agenda bent on controlling local land use. The book was an interesting precursor to Obama’s recent urban policies, which some have found extreme and others mild. Scott will use the president’s final 6 months in office to analyze these policies, both for Market Urbanism and Forbes. This article provides context for what was being said prior to the changes.]

Generally speaking, presidents are judged based on how they address a few key issues.… Read more

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Miami’s Parking Deregulation Will Reduce Housing Costs

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

One of the great thought experiments in modern urban planning is to consider just how much cheaper life would be if the government didn’t enforce minimum parking requirements. Academics like UCLA professor Donald Shoup, for example, have noted that these mandates raise construction costs for housing, retail and office space, especially in dense cities, where building parking is both more expensive and less necessary. For this reason, several cities have deregulated at least certain aspects of their parking codes. Miami has done this for much of its new housing stock, and appears to be reaping the benefits through cheaper and more abundant units…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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plano

The Explosive Northern Growth Of Metro Dallas

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Plano, TX–The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is the second fastest-growing metro in the nation. According to Census figures, from July of 2014 to July of 2015, it added 144,704 people, trailing only Houston. This is nothing new, as Dallas has, along with the other Big 4 in Texas, consistently been among the nation’s 10 fastest-growing major metros for years. But these figures are still just numbers on a page. What does the growth look like in real life? Recently, I spent a day driving through the metroplex’s northern portion, finding it to be endless and explosive…[read the rest at Forbes]

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When Outsourcing Works

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–Many public services are now outsourced. From education and transit to garbage pickup and park maintenance, there’s a notion that nongovernmental organizations can do things better. Certainly, privatization has seen its share of successes and failures. But one of those successes is economic development — at least in Oklahoma City.

Since the beginning, economic development in Oklahoma City has been handled not by a public entity as in many cities, but by the Chamber of Commerce. Putting the chamber or other private groups in charge of economic development has long been common at the local level.… Read more

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What Is A Yimby?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

The term “Yimby” won’t make much sense to someone unless they are familiar with the idea of Nimbyism. And if they’ve been following urban land use debates for the last decade, they know all too well about that latter term.

Nimbyism, which is an acronym for “not in my backyard,” has become the routine resistance against new construction in America, by those sometimes remotely effected. In his 2015 article “Nimby Nation: The High Cost To America Of Saying No To Everything,” fellow Forbes writer Christopher Helman described Nimbyism as a political phenomenon that prevents or increases costs of practically every new public and private infrastructure project, from high speed rail to interstate expansion to oil pipeline growth.… Read more

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Boulder, CO: Another Desirable But Over-Regulated U.S. City

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Boulder, CO–There is no denying the beauty of this place. Drive 30 miles northwest from downtown Denver, past the plains along U.S. 36, and you will stumble upon Boulder, a golden little 103,000-person city where historic architecture and alternative culture merge in the foothills of the Rockies. But nowadays, only certain people get to enjoy Boulder. Because of its characteristics, there is extreme demand for living here, and because of regulations, little new housing gets built. As a result, Boulder has become a smaller version of the over-regulated, over-priced big cities found more commonly along America’s east and west coasts….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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On Urban Housing Issue, Liberals And Conservatives Talk Past Each Other

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

The housing affordability issue in many U.S. cities has become such a crisis that it’s raising bipartisan concern. Both liberal and conservative urban commentators, when holing up in their respective bunkers, speak of how inflated prices are hurting the American dream in key cities like New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and many smaller ones. And surprisingly, both groups have even identified the same causes, noting that NIMBYism and regulation prevent these cities from increasing their supply to meet demand. But as I found while recently attending two very different urban policy conferences, neither side has noticed their shared beliefs.… Read more

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‘Mexican Nationals’ Are Transforming San Antonio

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Antonio, TX–The oddest thing about today’s anti-immigration rhetoric, namely against Mexicans, is that it comes during an era when Mexican immigration has declined. According to American Community Survey data compiled by UT-San Antonio public policy dean Rogelio Saenz, “the volume of migration from Mexico to the United States fell from 1.9 million in 2003–2007 to 819,000 in 2008–2012, a drop of 57 percent,” and the decline has continued in recent years. Meanwhile, he writes, the demographic nature of these immigrants has changed. While stereotypes persist of the poor Mexican agricultural worker who lives on welfare, the more recent migrants have been rich, educated professionals who park their substantial assets here, and are known colloquially as ‘Mexican Nationals.’ They work white-collar jobs in destination cities with strong existing Mexican ties, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston and Dallas.… Read more

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Modern Zoning Would Have Killed Off America’s Dense Cities

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

For people who like dense, walkable, transit-oriented, cosmopolitan cities, there are only a few genuine options in America. They have New York City, Chicago, DC, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and maybe portions of a few other cities. These “legacy cities” are unique because they grew before the automobile, necessitating dense settlement patterns, while most other U.S. cities grew afterwards. But another, far less discussed, factor is that they grew before the evolution of strict zoning regulations. From the Industrial Era until World War II, these cities received floods of immigrants, and allowed developers to build housing for them, since there was very little legal framework to stop this.… Read more

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