In the News

A Myth Exploded

Every so often I read the following argument: "We shouldn't upzone popular urban neighborhoods, because if we freeze the status quo in those areas, the people who are priced out willl rebuild our city's devastated neighborhoods."  This argument has a conceptual flaw: most middle-class peoples' ... read more »

Too Early To Declare Victory on Affordability

I just read numerous discussions about how high-cost cities really are cheaper than you might think, based on a study by New York's Citizens'  Budget Commission purporting to show that when housing and transportation costs are combined, New York is actually one of the most affordable cities in ... read more »

Mr. Kotkin Talks About What "People Really Want"

Joel Kotkin recently wrote in the Washington Post that unspecified urban planners want "to create an ideal locate for hipsters and older, sophisticated urban dwellers" rather than focusing on the needs of "most middle-class residents of the metropolis." He claims that these people want "home owners... read more »

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... read more »

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. ... read more »

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. ... read more »

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 m... read more »

Great post on how regulation really is expensive

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 ... read more »

New York's problem (or more broadly, the problem of medium density)

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 y... read more »

Thoughts On Rails and Buses

Randall O'Toole recently published a paper attacking rail transit, focusing in particular on four transit lines (Los Angeles' Regional Connector train, San Francisco's Third Street train, Seattle's University line, and Honolulu's new rail system).  These transit lines are essentially hybrids be... read more »