MLewyn's blog

What Ferguson Tells Us About Working-Class Suburbia

Recently, Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, has received lots of attention because of a police officer's questionable decision to shoot an unarmed civilian, followed by demonstrations, followed by some even more questionable decisions by police (such as arresting journalists and tear-gassing the citizenry).   

The "Chains Are Ruining Our City" Myth

I recently read about a blog complaining that New York was "suburbanizing" due to the "disappearance of small stores and restaurants" and their alleged replacement by national chains.

The "Building Boom" Myth

One common argument against new infill development is "my city has already experienced a building boom, and rents keep going up."  But in New York City, one of the nation's most expensive cities, this claim is built on false assumptions.  A recent study by the Citizens Budget Commission shows that New York has experienced lower growth in housing supply than all but 3 of 22 cities surveyed- and 2 of the 3 (Detroit and Chicago) lost population over the past decade.

worst practices: vanishing medians

One thing that can make suburban roads less intolerable for pedestrians is a large median, so that the pedestrian can cross a huge road two or three lanes at a time, instead of having to cross an entire six- or eight-lane highway in one mad dash.  

The Toxic Results of NIMBYism

An article in today's New York Times discusses population growth patterns over the past several years, and suggests that population growth is fastest in the inland Sun Belt-places combining relatively warm weather and cheap housing.

interesting blog post on congestion pricing

At the Smart Growth for Conservatives blog, analyst Michael Brown has written a series of interesting posts about congestion pricing, most recently one on how to make congestion pricing (that is, tolling highways during peak periods to reduce congestion) sound appealing to the general public.   He also suggests that congestion pricing will increase

Fraudo-Mobility

Don't Blame the Rich for High Rents

One common explanation for the high housing costs of New York and San Francisco is that the wealthy are pricing everyone else out of the market.  According to this narrative, there are so many obscenely wealthy people in such cities that developers are only building housing for the rich, thus making it impossible for the law of supply and demand to function.

Highways Don't Pay For Themselves, Even When They Do

One common argument for the highway-centric status quo is that highways pay for themselves, while trains and buses are government-subsidized.  This argument has been debunked again and again, and the debunking itself has even been debunked.

How much does diversity matter?

This weekend, I visited Kansas City, Mo. to look for apartments (since I am moving there in August to teach at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School). I focused my search on the Brookside and Country Club Plaza neighborhoods, two areas within a 45-minute walk of the law school.