One common explanation for high rents is something called "financialization." Literally, this term of course makes no sense: any form of investment, good or bad, involves finances.But I think that the most common non-incoherent use of the term is something like this: rich people and … [Read more...]
There was an interesting article in the New York Times magazine this week on the rise of extended stay hotels, which specialize in renting to a group within the working poor- people who have the cash for weekly rent, but cannot easily rent traditional apartments due to their poor credit … [Read more...]
The Duplex: Gateway Drug to Urban Density
After over a century, Berkeley, California may be about to legalize missing middle housing - and it’s not alone. Bids to re-legalize gradual densification in the form of duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and the like have begun to pick up steam over the last several years. In 2019, Oregon legalized … [Read more...]
California Housing Reform: 2021 Edition
Current events being what they are, I’m happy to be writing about something positive. Once again, we’re getting an ambitious housing reform package in the California legislature. The various bills focus on removing obstacles to new housing and are a sign of the growing momentum Yimby activists have … [Read more...]
Why Houston Isn’t An Argument for Zoning
Someone just posted a video on Youtube using Houston, Texas as an argument in favor of zoning. The logic of the video is: Houston is horrible; Houston has no zoning; therefore every city should have conventional zoning.This video and its logic are impressively wrong, for several reasons. … [Read more...]
What’s a stickplex?
A stickplex is a dense residential structure or group of structures built with inexpensive materials and techniques, most commonly wood. Stickplexes use 2,500 square feet of land per unit or less. Stickplexes have per-square-foot construction costs roughly in line with detached houses due to … [Read more...]
The Amazing Housing Politics of Spider-Man
How can Spider-Man possibly afford to live in New York? And how can we make the city more affordable for dear Aunt May? In the first episode of my brand new YouTube series on pop-culture urbanism, we dig into the Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" trilogy to uncover the housing problems (and solutions) of … [Read more...]
Are Dollar Stores Wiping Out Grocery Stores?
I had always thought dollar stores were a nice thing to have in an urban neighborhood, but recently they have become controversial. Some cities have tried to limit their growth, based on the theory that "they impede opportunities for grocery stores and other businesses to take root and grow." … [Read more...]