richard florida

Richard Florida’s Latest Book Hits, Then Misses, The ‘New Urban Crisis’

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

For all the mockery it’s drawn, the central idea on which celebrity urbanist Richard Florida built his career was not a bad one. In 2002, the current University of Toronto business professor wrote The Rise of the Creative Class, about America’s growing subset of workers who were generally educated, wealthy, and in creative professions. His book also advanced the creative class theory, which posits that cities do best not by luring companies, but by drawing these workers, and that economic development strategies should be tailored towards the latter.… Read more

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Houston Or Portland: Which City Is Doing Urban Density Better?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Among those who appreciate cities and urban density, there are often very different associations about Houston and Portland. To many, Houston is a pro-growth metro where “the market” has led to a sprawling, incohesive hellscape. Portland, meanwhile, is considered a metro where enlightened government planning has produced walkable, European-style urbanism. Because both started from roughly the same place—as post-WWII, automobile-oriented metros—and because one has presumably become cool and cultured, while the other is disperse and smoggy, urbanists seem to believe that this validates the pro-planning model….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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sf public housing

A Visit to SF-RAD: Largest Government-to-private Ownership Conversion In History

[Originally published by HousingOnline.com]

 

In 2015, San Francisco approved the largest conversion of government housing into private ownership in American history. The deal is a mass overhaul of the city’s decrepit public housing stock, as units across multiple neighborhoods are being restored and transferred to new management. The deal also represents the largest single application thus far of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, a recent voluntary reform initiative from HUD. This initiative in San Francisco, known as SF-RAD, is supposed to improve public housing services while preserving some of the city’s ever-dwindling affordable housing stock.… Read more

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sf skyline

San Francisco: Sleeping In A Closet

[Originally published by HousingOnline.com]

 

San Francisco, CA—Before entering San Francisco, I’d heard that high housing costs were forcing even six-figure-salary techies into cramped apartments. But I found this hard to believe, until I actually met one, while attending a local activist event. His name was Steven Buss, a 30-year-old software engineer who earns over $100,000 in salary working for Google. He moved here from Los Angeles several years ago hoping to make more money, so that he could save up and start a business. His goal was thus to spend no more than $2,000 monthly on rent, while living within an hour’s commute of Google’s offices in the SoMa neighborhood.… Read more

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Airbnb’s Sublet Service Would Be A Welcome Addition To The Housing Market

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Airbnb—an online platform better known for connecting travelers with vacated homes over short stays—is considering an expansion into the temporary sublet market. Although the company has provided subletting services since 2011, it recently hired McKinsey & Co. to research the market more, hoping to grow and compete with Craigslist’s “sublets/temporary” section. The company thus seems to recognize its evolving role, from a vacation service into an option for long-term apartment seekers, and the millions of freelancers and employees who temporarily locate in U.S.… Read more

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What Is The Market Demand For Micro Housing In San Francisco?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Francisco, CA–There’s no doubt that the demand for living in San Francisco would, under an open market, create far more housing; this, in essence, is what the high prices and Nimby battles are all about. But one remaining mystery would be—void of the regulatory barriers, what type of housing would all this demand create? Existing data and anecdotal observation suggests that a lot of it would be micro housing…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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portland ugb

Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary: A Driver of Suburban Sprawl

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Portland, OR–Ever since Portland adopted an urban growth boundary (UGB), there have been numerous and very legitimate criticisms of the policy. The boundary has increased housing prices, devalued the properties of certain land owners, and robbed consumers of housing styles they might prefer. But there is one potential negative that has been overlooked–and is rather ironic–given the plan’s original intentions. The boundary may be driving suburban sprawl to points well beyond the Portland metro area…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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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

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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

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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

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