One chart to note in discussions of urban housing affordability, from Vancouver, BC.
The chart is from The Globe and Mail, looking at the changes in housing prices by the type of unit in Greater Vancouver. While condo prices have increased substantially, that increase is nothing compared to the boom in single-family detached house
Continue reading Housing prices vs. land prices – Vancouver, BC
Pacific Southwest Airlines post-deregulation ad (1985), showing their expansion beyond California. Image from Airbus777 on flickr.
Last week, Ilya Somin published a piece in the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog entitled “the emerging cross-ideological consensus on zoning.” The lede:
In recent years, and especially over the last few months, economists and other public policy
Continue reading Parallels between Zoning and Airline Deregulation
In case you were wondering, the White House grounds are technically unzoned – as is a lot of federal property in DC. Screenshot from the DC online zoning map.
Zoning has been on the national stage in the past few weeks, starting with this paper (just hovering on a link to whitehouse.gov is good
Continue reading Zoning restrictions on housing supply catch the White House’s eye
In cities with strong real estate markets, affordable housing is a big problem. And it’s not just a problem for those with lower incomes, it’s a problem for everyone. The problems aren’t even limited to just their own metro areas.
Note: in this case, the term “affordable housing” refers to the plain meaning of the
Continue reading Rising housing prices impact all incomes
DC row houses – the first CC image hit for “dc house flips” on Flickr. Photo from Elvert Barnes.
Earlier in May, local public radio station WAMU aired a lengthy three-part report on the collateral damage involved in house flipping in DC. Martin Austermuhle’s series offers a window into the nightmare for buyers of
Continue reading Flipping Houses, Zoning Codes, and Building Codes
Cover of Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia’s new book, Tactical Urbanism.
Tactical Urbanism is all the rage these days. There’s an undeniable appeal to the idea of getting the community together to do something rather than drafting another plan. But is the appeal just about the results of these projects, or does Tactical Urbanism
Continue reading Tactical Urbanism – useful procedural hack, or something more?
Beware the imperative that we have to do something.
Despite protestations from DC’s former planning director Harriet Tregoning, the preliminary vote count on the plan to limit rowhouse pop-ups in DC is poised to pass, 3-2 (note that two of the zoning commissioners tentatively in favor are the federal representatives to the commission; see this
Continue reading Pop-ups – what counts as ‘reasonable?’
One of the elements that makes prediction difficult is uncertainty. In one of the chapters of Donald Shoup’s High Cost of Free Parking (adapted for Access here), Professor Shoup poses the question:
HOW FAR IS IT from San Diego to San Francisco? An estimate of 632.125 miles is precise—but not accurate. An estimate of somewhere
Continue reading The cone of uncertainty
Comparison of USDOT predictions for Vehicle Miles Traveled, compared to actual values. Chart from SSTI.
Back in December, David Levinson put up a wonderful post with graphical representations looking to match predictions to reality. The results aren’t good for the predictors. Lots of official forecasts call for increased vehicle travel, while many places have
Continue reading Prediction is hard – so why do we make key decisions based on bad information?
Several months ago, Charlie Gardner had an excellent, thought-provoking post asking why have American cities seen the demise of the duplex? In a time when growing cities are bursting at the seams and facing severe affordability challenges, an incremental kind of development might be welcome in many cities, offering new housing while allowing an evolutionary
Continue reading Decreasing opportunities for incremental development in American neighborhoods