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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Read More

The Verdict Is In: Land Use Regulations Increase Housing Costs

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

This past Monday, September 26, could prove to be a landmark day in the political discussion about urban America’s housing woes. On that day, the connection between land-use regulations and higher housing costs, long made by urbanist bloggers and think-tankers, was finally acknowledged by a sitting president, when the Obama administration published the report “Housing Development Toolkit.” Rather than echoing past presidential administrations, and thinking up all the ways that the federal government could subsidize homeownership, the report listed why homes are so expensive in the first place: restrictive zoning, bureaucratic delay and other regulations.… Read more

Read More

Obama Administration Report Attacks NIMBYism And Zoning

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Zoning, along with other NIMBY-inspired housing and land-use regulations, might be the great invisible problem of modern America. Detailed analysis about these regulations is mostly confined to the blogosphere, and maybe a handful of prominent journalists who cover the issue every blue moon. Yet they affect almost every American, making housing more expensive, especially in major metro areas, which contain much of the nation’s people, jobs and GDP. But in recent years, the issue has gained mainstream awareness, and today was acknowledged by the most prominent voice of them all: President Obama…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More

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.Read more

Read More

The Federal Housing Administration Encourages Sprawl Over Density

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

While some may argue that America is an inherently suburban nation, full of citizens who prefer their own homes and yards, they forget that for decades the federal government has favored such sprawl. And no agency has been more complicit in this than the Federal Housing Administration.

In 1934, amid a lagging housing market, the FHA was formed to insure long-term mortgages that required little money down. Over this time, it has favored single-family housing over condos, and the bias prevails today. According to its website, the agency has “insured over 34 million home mortgages and 47,205 multifamily project mortgages since 1934.… Read more

Read More

Gross National Profit: Washington’s Wealth and Waste

[Originally published by the American Magazine]

 

After decades of decline, the nation’s capital today is wealthy and growing. Metro Washington now has six of the nation’s ten wealthiest counties. In 2012, Falls Church became the nation’s richest city, a far cry from when it was a 1970s refuge for Vietnamese immigrants fleeing Saigon. The region’s median household income is $88,233, second in the nation behind California’s San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara metro area, which is part of Silicon Valley and has a median household income of $90,737.

But while in other cities this might be a success story, in Washington it comes with a catch.… Read more

Read More

FHA Policies Discourage Density

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

After decades of suburban flight, the city is king again. Economists view it as essential for sparking innovation and growth. Environmentalists consider it key to getting people out of their automobiles. And urbanites, many of whom suffered through decades of decline in their cities, view it as a symbol of long-anticipated revitalization.

But a key part of cities — their density — hasn’t always been encouraged by the government, particularly not at the federal level. In fact, many of today’s land use policies hail from the post-World War II era, when planners thought that decentralizing cities would generate middle-class prosperity.… Read more

Read More

Want to See More Millennials as Homeowners? Ease FHA Condo Restrictions

[Originally published by Next City Magazine]

 

To casual observers, it may seem evident by now that urban density is not only fashionable, but has economic and environmental benefits. This does not mean, however, that the government always responds accordingly. For decades, federal land use and transportation policies have been inspired by the 1950s belief that suburbs, rather than cities, were what boosted upward mobility — and the Federal Housing Administration persists in favoring single-family over multi-family units. In late August, these FHA policies were reviewed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but rather than evening the playing field, HUD extended the same tired incentives for sprawl.… Read more

Read More