There goes the neighborhood

There Goes the Neighborhood is a podcast series from The Nation and WNYC.

It provides a look into the public perception of rezoning East New York. The reporters and producers get the emotional response on tape in a way you can only accomplish on radio, complete with all of the vocal inflections and intonation,

Continue reading There goes the neighborhood

Housing prices vs. land prices – Vancouver, BC

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

Zoning restrictions on housing supply catch the White House’s eye

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

Rising housing prices impact all incomes

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

Flipping Houses, Zoning Codes, and Building Codes

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

Pop-ups – what counts as ‘reasonable?’

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?’

Decreasing opportunities for incremental development in American neighborhoods

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

Affordable housing and the law of supply and demand

CC image from Thomas Hawk.

Some great articles on the challenges to affordable housing in high-demand cities over the past few days, worthy of some reflection:

San Francisco’s Housing Crisis Explained – an epic long-form article from Tech Crunch looking at just about every angle of San Francisco’s affordability issues. The Spectre Haunting San

Continue reading Affordable housing and the law of supply and demand

A machine to make the land pay

Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building. CC image from Wiki.

Cass Gilbert famously defined a skyscraper as “a machine that makes the land pay,” the kind of structure justified (and often required) by high land values. Gilbert’s distillation of the logic behind these buildings is inherently economic (hat tip to Kazys Varnelis):

Speaking of such enterprises

Continue reading A machine to make the land pay

A country of hyperdense cities

“How to build good cities,” from Vishaan Chakrabarti’s ‘A Country of Cities.’

Well, that was fast.

Based on the heft of my gift, I expected to take more time to read through Vishaan Chakrabarti’s A Country of Cities. The book, however, is wonderfully illustrated and laid out, thanks to Chakrabarti’s firm, SHoP (for a

Continue reading A country of hyperdense cities