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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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America’s ‘Inner City’ Problem, As Seen In One Baltimore Neighborhood

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Baltimore, MD–Much was made about the campaign rhetoric from President Donald Trump on America’s inner cities. This is because he spoke about them in the blunt and sensationalized way that only he can.

“Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before, ever, ever, ever,” he declared at one campaign stop. “You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street.”

Similar statements during the presidential debates caused the press and social media to jump on him, often sarcastically placing his phrase “inner city” into scare quotes….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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I Spent A Year Traveling Through America’s Fast-Growing Sunbelt

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

There’s a severe shift occurring right now in the United States. The Northeast and Midwest are ceding people to the South and West, with migrants moving particularly to America’s Sunbelt. Like with other global migration shifts, there is an underlying political context to all this. Regulations on housing construction and other economic activities are making certain northern cities hostile to all but elite income groups. Meanwhile, the more open southern economies are receiving the exodus, becoming more economically and culturally dynamic. For the last year, I’ve traveled through this southern slice of the country, witnessing all these changes at street level–and it’s been something to behold…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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