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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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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When Local Control Backfires

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

Many political analysts believe that local government is the best government. The act of delegating responsibilities to states and localities is thought to increase accountability by putting governments closer to the people. But local governance can backfire, especially when parochial interests trump larger regional concerns. Nowhere is this more evident than in housing, where prices are skyrocketing in many U.S. cities…[read the rest at Governing Magazine]… Read more

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Could The Fair Housing Act Be Used To Abolish Restrictive Zoning?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

In the debate on how to solve the urban housing affordability issue, there is a theoretical side and a political side. On the theoretical side, a growing bipartisan cluster of journalists, academics, business people, and even the president himself has concluded that zoning and other land use regulations increase housing costs, and must be reformed or abolished. But politically speaking, such deregulation is unlikely, since these regulations are enforced at local level, where they are preserved by homeowners who benefit from restricting the housing supply.… Read more

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San Antonio: Growth And Success In The Mexican-American Capital

[Originally printed in the San Antonio Business Journal (paywall) and republished by the Center for Opportunity Urbanism]

 

[Ed’s note: this was part of a larger project by Joel Kotkin’s think tank, the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, to explain the growth of Texas’ cities. Scott’s essay is on pg. 40 of the pdf.]

 

San Antonio, TX — For decades, as many U.S. cities declined, and others became overly exclusive, cities in Texas evolved into places of opportunity. Due in large part to liberalized economic policies, the state’s “Big Four” metro areas — Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio — consistently rank among the nation’s leaders in population growth and job growth, experiencing the rapid urbanization once common among America’s legacy cities.… Read more

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Here’s Why Your Home Is 24% Overpriced

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

There is overwhelming academic literature saying that government regulations cause higher housing costs. I wrote an article weeks ago listing about two dozen studies that identified multiple types of regulation, and the effects they had on increasing prices, exacerbating inequality, and forcing unwanted lifestyle shifts. Some additional data published recently is more granular, analyzing not only the effects, say, of zoning, but of impact fees, building codes, design reviews, bureaucratic delays and more. The paper’s alarming conclusion is that government regulation adds 24.3% to the average price of new homes in America…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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When Texas Stopped Looking and Feeling Like Mexico

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

The cities along the Texas and Mexico border differ dramatically. Those in Texas are sprawling, while those in Mexico are buzzing with urban vibrancy. This is odd considering that many of these border cities have shared histories and cultures. U.S. cities like Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo and El Paso are demographically similar to their counterparts in Mexico, yet look like classic American Sun Belt cities. Their downtowns are quiet, with automobiles outnumbering pedestrians; interior neighborhoods have single-family homes; and strip malls sprawl into the peripheries.… Read more

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America’s Progressive Developers–Silver Ventures

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

[part of an MU series by Scott Beyer on America’s Progressive Developers]

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(The Pearl’s central street leads up to Hotel Emma. / company photo)

 

In early April, I wrote in this series about a waterfront development project in New Orleans that, despite some progress, was facing roadblocks. The city had launched a $300 million plan called “Reinventing The Crescent,” which was meant to create a continuous walkway along 4.5 miles of city waterfront facing the Mississippi River. Only a fraction of the project was complete after 8 years, however, thanks to government misguidance.

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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

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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

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