Houston, Dallas & New York City: America’s Great 3-Way Housing Supply Race

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

The conversation on America’s affordable housing crisis is often fueled by anecdotes. Journalists and activists tell tales of gentrification, eviction and displacement from within their increasingly expensive cities. Then, when new housing is built that is even more expensive, the housing itself is presented as the cause, and more construction is discouraged. But a look at the numbers shows that, on the contrary, housing construction (or lack thereof) seems to be the driving factor behind whether or not large U.S. metros remain affordable.… Read more

Read More

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Houston Rodeo Has Returned For Its 86th Year

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Every major American city has its landmark annual event, ranging from SXSW in Austin, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, to the New Year’s Eve Times Square ball drop in New York City. But one such event gets far less media attention than the others, despite having a larger attendance and arguably more cultural relevance, at least to middle America. It occurs, no less, in the nation’s 4th-largest city and its 5th-largest metro area. That event is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Los Angeles: Skid Row In Hollywood

[Originally published by HousingOnline.com]

 

[editor’s note: I’ve been hired by HousingOnline.com–a building trade magazine–to be their roving urban correspondent, providing bimonthly articles on the financial and regulatory climates within different U.S. cities. Because they have a paywall, I’ll be republishing, with their permission, all articles in full on this blog.] 

 

Los Angeles, CA—Los Angeles is, by some metrics, America’s homeless capital. It has a county-wide nightly unsheltered population of roughly 82,000, including 13,000 who are chronically homeless. There is a broad understanding that building more supportive housing units, such as the kind financed by Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), is needed to address this problem.… Read more

Read More

United States Has 5 Of World’s 10 Most Congested Cities

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

What happens in U.S. cities that have substantial built density, even more suburban sprawl, and an under-priced system of roads to get around on? They experience traffic gridlock, forcing average commuters to waste sizable chunks of their money and time. In select parts of urban America, drivers are experiencing this worse than about anyone on earth….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More

miami beach

How Far Can Miami’s Beach Development Spread?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

When people think of Miami’s beach culture, they likely focus on the three miles of shoreline along the heart of Miami Beach. What they may not realize is that this culture is spreading north, to previously suburban areas like Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. This new growth results from the same secret sauce that has bolstered South Florida at large. These once-mild coastal townships are allowing new people, crafting model public spaces, funding forward-thinking infrastructure, and most importantly, letting builders build. The result is a fast-spreading, vertical brand of urbanism that has become the region’s trademark, and turned it into an ever-growing global destination…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More

Build, Baby, Build: A New Housing Movement’s Unofficial Motto

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

Local control, as I wrote in my last column, can sometimes backfire. America’s affordable housing crisis is a prime example. The sensible response to rapid population growth and inflated prices in our cities is to build more housing. But thanks to a “not in my backyard” mentality that is supported by a hyper-local planning model, existing residents are able to resist new construction that promotes density…[read the rest at Governing]… Read more

Read More

Measure S Would Grip Los Angeles In A Housing Shortage

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Los Angeles, CA–The City of Angels is suffering from a housing shortage, to the point that median prices have risen into the rarefied air of $610,000. This trend has grown starker recently, with L.A.’s prices increasing by an astonishing $240,000 in just 5 years, leading to sudden spikes in homelessness and evictions. It might seem counter-intuitive, then, to pass a broad sweeping measure that would effectively ban new housing construction. But that is what residents could do if they vote “yes” on the upcoming Measure S…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More

wiener

California State Senator Scott Wiener: ‘San Francisco’s Progressives Lost Their Way On Housing’

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Francisco, CA–Back in 2012, while spending a summer in San Francisco, I would attend the city’s Board of Supervisors meetings on a weekly basis. The big ongoing topic back then, like today, was the city’s housing shortage, and how it was escalating prices. It was amazing to hear the wave of counterproductive, even clueless, solutions that 10 of the 11 supervisors would suggest for the problem. These ranged from decreasing building densities, to strengthening bureaucratic review, to placing construction moratoriums on certain neighborhoods, to strengthening tenant protections that are already strict, and that have led landlords to abandon between 10,000 and 30,000 units citywide.… Read more

Read More

San Francisco, A Leading Immigrant Hub, Sues Trump Over Sanctuary City Order

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Francisco, CA–On January 25th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order stating that so-called “sanctuary cities”–or cities where local government officials choose not to cooperate with federal deportation agents–would lose federal funding. Now San Francisco has struck back, with a lawsuit titled City and County of San Francisco v. Donald J. Trump….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More

The Case For Localizing Federal Transportation Policy

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

[This article has been modified and updated from a Capitol Hill briefing I gave for the Cato Institute. You can watch the full speech here.]

Should the federal government dictate urban policy? This seems to be the default assumption among many Republicans and Democrats, for pet issues ranging from housing to infrastructure to immigration. But for those who care about cities, this approach may be wrong for two reasons. The first is that the federal government redirects tax revenue away from cities and into less productive rural areas, amounting to a raw deal for major metros.… Read more

Read More