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USA Real Estate Blog

Market Urbanism MUsings May 11, 2019

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Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: third fastest growing city in Africa. (pop. 4,364,541) Flickr user David Stanley

1. Recently at Market Urbanism

A great new paper on how government fights walking by Michael Lewyn

Many readers of this blog know that government subsidizes driving- not just through road spending, but also through land use regulations that make walking and transit use inconvenient and dangerous.  Gregory Shill, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, has written an excellent new paper that goes even further.

Why Japanese Zoning More Liberal Than US Zoning by Nolan Gray

Why did U.S. zoning end up so much more restrictive than Japanese zoning? To frame the puzzle a different way, why did U.S. and Japanese land-use regulation—which both started off quite liberal—diverge so dramatically in terms of restrictiveness?

Democratic Candidates on Housing by Jeff Fong

Anti poverty programs have been taking center stage as the 2020 Democratic primary heats up. Proposals from Kamala Harris and Corey Booker target high housing costs for renters and make for an interesting set of ideas. These plans, however, have major shortcomings and fail to address the fundamental problem of supply constraints in high cost housing markets.

Against Spot Text Amendments by Nolan Gray

As zoning has become more restrictive over time, the need for “safety valve” mechanisms—which give developers flexibility within standard zoning rules—has grown exponentially.

What Should I Read to Understand Zoning? by Nolan Gray

We are blessed and cursed to live in times in which most smart people are expected to have an opinion on zoning. Blessed, in that zoning is arguably the single most important institution shaping where we live, how we move around, and who we meet. Cursed, in that zoning is notoriously obtuse, with zoning ordinances often cloaked in jargon, hidden away in PDFs, and completely different city-to-city.

Homeownership and the Warren Housing Bill by Emily Hamilton 

Elizabeth Warren’s housing bill has received a lot of love from those who favor of land use liberalization. Like Cory Booker’s housing bill, the Warren bill would seek to encourage state and local land use reform using federal grants as an incentive.

High-Rises and Street Life by Michael Lewyn 

One common argument against tall buildings is that they reduce street life, because the most expensive high-rises have gyms and other amenities that cause people to stay inside the buildings rather than using the street.  Because Manhattan has plenty of high-rises and plenty of street life, I have always thought this was a dumb argument.

The Human Cost of Zoning in Indian Cities by Shanu Athiparambath

Nearly one-third of the people in Delhi live in illegal colonies where they do not have secure property titles. Illegal colonies violate zoning regulations and master plans. Water connections, sewer lines, electricity, and roads do not function very well because illegal colonies are not even supposed to exist. Some of them are more populous than many American cities.

The Storper paper: not exactly a bombshell by Michael Lewyn

The authors’ attack on upzoning is in the last few pages, and is based on broad, sweeping generalizations rather than actual data.

2. Also by Market Urbanists

Nolan Gray at Citylab: “How Marvel Packs a Universe Into New York City”

Nolan Gray at Strong Towns: “Your Zoning Code Is Inherently Exclusionary (But It Doesn’t Have To Be)”

Brandon Fuller and Nolan Gray at City Journal: “Where are all the Republican YIMBYs?”

Emily Hamilton at Mercatus: “Expanding Urban Housing Access for Women”

Emily Hamilton at Statesman Journal: “Nice try Oregon, but new statewide rent control law won’t fix housing prices”

Sanford Ikeda on Order without Design by Alain Bertaud: “An urban planner who understands economics!

Randy Shaw at Beyond Chron SB50 Exposes SF Supes’ Failed Housing Vision

Nolan Gray and Salim Furth at Austin American-Statesman: Do minimum lot sizes in suburbs contribute to Texas sprawl?

3. At the Market Urbanism Facebook Group

Tony Bobay says: “Rent control advocates are the flat-earthers of the housing market.”

Luís Guilherme F. Pereira asks: “Is housing in the US a Ponzi Scheme? It sure looks a hell lot like it.”

Drew Lee asks: “Whats Market Urbanism’s opinion on high speed rail?”

Via Joe Wolf: Council approves a taller, denser Seattle. What does that mean for housing?

Via Michael Burns: Skid Road: How California’s army of homeless has turned the state’s richest boulevards into RV parks as exorbitant rents force families and full-time workers to live on four wheels

Via Carl Webb: Study: Gentrification and cultural displacement most intense in America’s largest cities, and absent from many others

Via Michael Burns: Hong Kong government plans £60 billion artificial island to solve “serious” land shortage

Via Michael Burns: Hong Kong government plans £60 billion artificial island to solve “serious” land shortage

Via Drew Lee: Stuck in traffic? Blame the Jones Act!

Via David Daniel Turner: A Growing Problem in Real Estate: Too Many Too Big Houses

Via Drew Lee: The Streets Were Never Free. Congestion Pricing Finally Makes That Plain.

Via Stephen Rowe: NIMBYs Argue New Housing Supply Doesn’t Make Cities Affordable. They’re Wrong.

Via Jignesh Ghandi: The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

Via James Hanley: Why Economists Love Property Taxes and You Don’t

Via Lachlan Holmes: Neighbours oppose ‘greedy’ plan to build Hamilton’s 3 tallest buildings in Stoney Creek

Via Michael Burns: Floating Cities: United Nations Unveils Bold Idea to Fight Climate Change

Via Jim Zavist: Vigilantes Are Taking Scooters Off the Streets of San Diego and Bird and Lime Are Pissed

Via Drew Lee: Virgin Trains finally set to launch construction of West Palm Beach-to-Orlando link

Via Eric Fontaine: Is Marginally Loosening California’s Zoning Restrictions Racist?

Via Michael Burns: Young People are Choosing to Live in “Pods” Instead of Apartments

Via Drew Lee: Holy cow! California may get rid of single-family zoning

Via Roger Valdez: The Power Of Narrative: How Do We Change The Housing Story?

Via Joe Wolf: The Neighborhood Is Mostly Black. The Home Buyers Are Most

Via Austin Whaley: Man Wants To Buy Old Cruise Ship And Turn It Into Housing For The Homeless

4. Stephen Smith’s MU tweet of the week



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