New York city planning director Amanda Burden recently argued that there's not much more that the city can do to make housing more affordable, claiming that the city has given out 30,000 building permits per year, yet prices have failed to go down. But in fact, New York has built housing at a much lower rate than some other cities.
A few months ago, the federal Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District.
One argument I've seen in anti-smart growth literature is that regulation generally and/or smart growth-oriented regulation creates housing bubbles that lead to price instability.
I've read some stories suggesting that poverty is decreasing in cities and increasing in suburbs. Urbanists see this alleged trend as evidence that cities are becoming more popular; egalitarians see it as evidence that gentrification is driving the poor into suburbia.
I recently read the following comment justifying sprawl-oriented policies: "people still want the freedom of choice, privacy and flexibility a car affords."
I have often seen this sort of argument; it seems to me to endorse the following chain of logic: (1) an unspecified number of "people" (presumably a majority) want cars and therefore (2) we should enact policies that make car ownership effectively mandatory (e.g. using highways to shift development to places without public transit, building streets too wide to be crossable by pedestrians).
Last Friday night, a woman and her daughter were struck by a car while crossing the street to attend Yom Kippur services in Jacksonville, Florida. The mother died instantly, the daughter was hospitalized.
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy just came out with a fun new database of fiscal information about cities. A few of the things I learned after playing around in the database for an hour:
In the Wall Street Journal, Joel Kotkin pans Leigh Gallagher's "The End of the Suburbs." Generally, I don't consider a fight about whether cities or suburbs are winning the future to be of much interest; in reality, there are growing cities and growing suburbs, just as there are declining cities and declining suburbs. However, Kotkin does raise a number of points which I think are worthy of discussion.
One widely-publicized attempt to find a middle ground between laissez-fair and overregulation is "libertarian paternalism": the idea that (in the words of New York Times columnist David Brooks), "Government doesn’t tell you what to do, but it gently biases the context so that you find it easier to do things" favored by government. For example, a state governnment could design forms making organ donation the "default option" for driver's license applicants, so one would have
A few months ago, I finished reading Robert Caro's The Power Broker, a biography of highway/park-builder Robert Moses. Caro asserts that Moses's Cross-Bronx Expressway ruined Bronx neighborhoods near East Tremont Avenue; many houses and apartments were destroyed to build the expressway, and the negative effects of all that deserted land blighted nearby blocks.