Another week without posts (from me, at least), another giant consolation link list! I’ve got a lot of them piling up and probably won’t be back to regular posting for a few more days, so I’ll try to spread them out over a few posts.
1. Wendell Cox’s Demographia came out with its 2010 Demographic Residential Land & Regulation Cost Index and finds, surprise surprise!, that sprawling Sunbelt and Southern cities have both the least regulated housing markets the most affordable housing. Bill Fulton finds a few faults with the study, including its tendency to lump all land use regulation (whether pro-sprawl or pro-density) together. What surprises me more, though, is that the report seems to only take into account “new detached housing,” and yet its conclusions are being reported as being applicable to “housing” writ large. I didn’t read it in detail, but I don’t see any evidence that multifamily residences or the right to build densely and without parking were even considered.
2. Slum (re)development will probably be one of the biggest urbanism stories of the century, and Mumbai seems to be making some fateful decisions. I’m having trouble finding comparisons of how different countries are doing it, but I suspect the most successful, attractive, livable developments will be the ones where local squatters are given property rights and are allowed to control the pace of redevelopment. Anything else is likely to breed popular resentment and will probably result in a lot of glitzy megaprojects built by political insiders that aren’t well-integrated into the surrounding city.
3. The NYT has a story on a “split” among environmentalists over density, although it seems like the pro-density camp is clearly winning, at least institutionally within the environmentalist movement. I think a more interesting story is how people who are first and foremost opponents of density and redevelopment use environmental arguments to stall densification – something we’ve discussed before.
4. Despite its youthfulness, Silicon Valley has always been a decidedly suburban phenomenon, but the WSJ claims that’s changing, with “start-ups wanting better access to public transportation and to be in walking distance to restaurants.” Interestingly, Google had deep enough pockets to take a shot at the transit-unfriendliness of its suburban Mountain View campus a few years ago, but I’m curious to see how that experiment panned out. Anybody know anything?
5. Public mass transit already has unions and parking lot construction costs draining them of funds, and now we can add anti-terrorism security theater to that list.