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.
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.
After seeing another blog post about how density is bad because Los Angeles is dense, it occurred to me to suggest that just as there is good and bad cholesterol, there is good and not-so-good density.
From a new urbanist perspective, good density is density that contributes to walkability: density near public transit, density within walking distance of shops and jobs in a place where walking is possible.
In 2012, Urban Design Associates (UDA) was awarded a Charter Award for their project The New Faubourg Lafitte in New Orleans. The project is a redevelopment and rehabilititaiton of a 27-acre superblock public housing that had been badly damaged by hurricane Katrina. CNU praised the collaboration with the community in the plan's creation, the social anchoring of the design, and its connections and consistency with the surrounding fabric.
Those of us who believe in the laws of economics keep trying to explain that land use regulation really does make development (especially infill development) more expensive. A recent blog post by James Bacon includes a wonderful essay quantifying the impact of regulation in Austin, hardly one of the nation's most expensive or regulation-happy cities. The article points out that these regulations tend to be more restrictive in center cities. Read it.
Tremé is one of the oldest and most central neighborhoods of New Orleans. In its early history, it was a popular destination for immigrants and free people of color.
After reading yet another blog post talking about how New York is losing migrants to other cities, I had an extremely insightful date. My date was with a woman who lived in Flatbush, at the outer, more car-oriented edge of Brooklyn. She drives everywhere. When I told her about my youth in Atlanta, she seemed downright envious: where I saw slavery to cars, she saw "quality of life" (English translation: cheap land).