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.
Alon Levy saysNovember 10, 2010 at 6:18 am
A few months ago, Krugman tried to weasel into explaining that his original prediction for the housing bubble came from a correct explanation, not a wild guess. He linked to a not very enlightening Brookings report lumping Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Denver together as areas subject to strong growth control. In the comment thread, multiple people from Phoenix explained exactly how the report misrepresented their region – it looked at how many municipalities had growth control laws instead of whether there were regulations on sprawl at the boundary, it ignored whether in practice developers were restricted in any way, it ignored how big the controlled municipalities were versus the uncontrolled ones, etc. Wendell Cox was the only person saying that yes, Phoenix was in fact growth controlled.
Anon256 saysNovember 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Regarding the Google shuttles, this article offers interesting anecdotes suggesting they have a non-negligible impact on the real estate market. Not sure what you mean “how that experiment panned out”… it’s not an experiment, it’s a basic employee benefit (provided on a smaller scale by many other employers). People certainly use it, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Googleplex is an office park surrounded by sprawl.