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

Read More

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

Read More

wiener

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

A Conversation With Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–With Donald Trump’s election—along with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and Republican governorships in 31 states–this would seem like a golden age for the GOP. And yet something about the party feels unsustainable. Their branding, now rooted more in nativism and white identity politics than in promoting liberalized markets, is unpopular in urban areas. According to an Atlantic Magazine report, this recent election, for all its supposed race and gender divides, was really about city versus country.… Read more

Read More

Nativism: The Thread That Connects Progressive NIMBYs With Donald Trump

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Who does this sound like? A group dealing with economic disruption decides that, rather than addressing its problems internally, it will blame outsiders. So the group adopts a nativist stance, looking to build walls, enforce regulations and impose taxes that discourage outside people and goods. The group also adopts a reactionary cultural conservatism, legitimizing stagnancy as a means to preserve “heritage” and “character.” Is this the mentality driving much of Donald Trump’s support base, and America’s turn towards “Trumpism”? Surely it’s a factor. But at the urban level, it describes a group that generally hates Trump, yet mirrors his thinking; that is, progressives who preach openness, yet keep new people out of their neighborhood through NIMBYism…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More

What Is A Yimby?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

The term “Yimby” won’t make much sense to someone unless they are familiar with the idea of Nimbyism. And if they’ve been following urban land use debates for the last decade, they know all too well about that latter term.

Nimbyism, which is an acronym for “not in my backyard,” has become the routine resistance against new construction in America, by those sometimes remotely effected. In his 2015 article “Nimby Nation: The High Cost To America Of Saying No To Everything,” fellow Forbes writer Christopher Helman described Nimbyism as a political phenomenon that prevents or increases costs of practically every new public and private infrastructure project, from high speed rail to interstate expansion to oil pipeline growth.… Read more

Read More

On Urban Housing Issue, Liberals And Conservatives Talk Past Each Other

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

The housing affordability issue in many U.S. cities has become such a crisis that it’s raising bipartisan concern. Both liberal and conservative urban commentators, when holing up in their respective bunkers, speak of how inflated prices are hurting the American dream in key cities like New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and many smaller ones. And surprisingly, both groups have even identified the same causes, noting that NIMBYism and regulation prevent these cities from increasing their supply to meet demand. But as I found while recently attending two very different urban policy conferences, neither side has noticed their shared beliefs.… Read more

Read More

The Republican Party’s Urban Problem

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

We’ve been hearing for years that the Republican Party is suffering a demographic crisis. There aren’t enough old people, or white people, or Christian fundamentalists to support its existing ideological message, and the problem will only worsen as America diversifies. This may be true, but there is one demographic factor that underlies it all–the GOP doesn’t win cities, and hasn’t for decades. This is a problem, because major metros have become the strongest areas for population growth. If the GOP wants to survive, it must address this urban problem…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

Read More