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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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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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Yimby Nation: The Rise of America’s Pro-Housing Political Coalition

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Los Angeles, CA—America’s burgeoning pro-housing movement has many layers, and I recently witnessed one of them firsthand on a rare rainy night in Los Angeles. The activist group Abundant Housing LA was hosting its monthly meeting in a south-side Latino food mart, serving what seems to be the mandatory SoCal culinary combo for social settings, tacos and beer. The event featured a 4-person panel of local land-use experts, and another 50 attendees, who were united around a common cause: loosening land-use regulations to build more housing.… Read more

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Los Angeles’ Pension Crisis Is Sinking The City

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Los Angeles, CA–There are certain respects in which Los Angeles, for all its innate advantages, feels like an unsustainable city. It has the nation’s largest homeless population, the worst traffic, and numerous other service failures. Lack of money isn’t the problem, since the city has both high taxes and a wealthy population. It is instead because large sums go to employee pension benefits, sucking money from core services, and serving as a case study in how misappropriated resources can sink a city…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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‘Friendsgivings’ Are A Growing Urban American Tradition

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

West Hollywood, CA–What happens during Thanksgiving in a big American city filled with Millennials, transplants, events seekers, social butterflies, or some combo? There will be fertile ground for many “Friendsgivings.” The idea of a family inviting outside friends who don’t have anywhere else to eat on Thanksgiving is common nationwide; but recently it’s taken a twist, as unrelated young people throw Thanksgiving dinner parties among themselves. This past Thursday, I got to tour several of these parties in Los Angeles, experiencing a West Coast slice of the budding urban American tradition…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Globalism — Not Nativism — Is What Made America’s Cities Great

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Glendale, CA–I could tell when first arriving in Glendale that this wasn’t a stereotypical American suburb. I’d reserved a place here for the Los Angeles portion of my cross-country trip, after hearing that it was a cheap and amenity-rich city close to central L.A. But what has immediately jumped out is the diversity of this 30-square-mile, 200,000-person city, with Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Oriental, European and Caucasus communities functioning side by side. All the same, it’s a thriving city that performs above-average economically and culturally.… Read more

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Can Los Angeles Solve Its Traffic Problem By Building More Roads?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Anyone who has visited Los Angeles doesn’t need statistics to confirm its traffic problems, but here they are anyway. America’s 2nd-largest metro area suffers the most congestion overall, the 7th-longest commute times, and the 2nd most hours spent in traffic per resident. The reason for this has been because of the city’s sprawling yet semi-dense built pattern, which forces people to drive. The solution proposed by urban planners has been to build more mass transit, so driving is no longer the only option. But a new Reason Foundation study argues that road expansion is the most cost-effective solution for L.A.’s congestion, thus countering the long-standing dogma…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Los Angeles Launches “Vision Zero” Initiative To End Traffic Deaths

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Los Angeles will become the latest U.S. city with the rather ambitious goal of ending traffic fatalities. On Monday, mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive order called “Vision Zero,” which aims through better street design and driver behavior to end such deaths by 2025. L.A. will join two other major U.S. cities–New York and San Francisco–in advancing this pro-pedestrian initiative…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Los Angeles Is The Latest City With A Housing Crisis

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

When commentators discuss the U.S. cities with the least-affordable housing, they rarely mention Los Angeles. While dense coastal ones like New York, San Francisco, and Boston are considered exclusive, L.A. is sooner associated with the cheap and sprawling cities of the Sunbelt. This description would have been accurate in the mid-20th century, when the city’s unregulated growth made it a bane to architecture aesthetes, but great for middle-class prosperity. For decades, though, L.A. has copied the policies in these coastal hubs—and seen its affordability diminish.  … Read more

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