The challenges of adding housing in single family neighborhoods

Too often, news articles on housing prices fall into easy traps and cliché, whether in discussing gentrification or city vs. suburb tropes. But Conor Daugherty’s piece in the New York Times (The Great American Single Family Home Problem) hits all the right notes.

In it, he tells the tale of a modest redevelopment proposal to

Continue reading The challenges of adding housing in single family neighborhoods

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

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?’

Seeing the forest for the trees, and vice versa

CC image from Vincent Ferron

As the saying goes, sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. You can’t focus too hard on the details of each individual tree and still get the bigger picture – all of those trees form a larger ecosystem – a forest.

The expression (almost always used negatively)

Continue reading Seeing the forest for the trees, and vice versa

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

Challenges to affordable housing in growing cities and regions

Suburban Apartments and Estates – Now Renting. CC image from moominsean.

Call it gentrification, call it renewal, call it anything you like. Intense demand for city living is putting tremendous pressure on urban housing markets. Meeting that demand with new development reshapes the physical fabric of the city, but preserving the physical status quo

Continue reading Challenges to affordable housing in growing cities and regions

Crowdfunding and cooperatives – more thoughts on Fundrise and alternative models for urban development and finance

CC image from harrypope

Following up on the previous post on the limits and potential benefits of Fundrise:

First, from Payton Chung, an excellent breakdown of the limits and potential benefits of the crowdfunding platform. Payton identifies three general benefits to a Fundrise-like system: ‘slower’ and cheaper money; participation and trust of the investors;

Continue reading Crowdfunding and cooperatives – more thoughts on Fundrise and alternative models for urban development and finance

Housing demand and the regulatory path of least resistance: Seattle and microapartments

Seattle Space Needle. Photo by author.

The feature piece in The Stranger last month delved deeply into Seattle’s trend of micro-apartments. Dominic Holden offers an in-depth look at not just the development trends, but the politics of the policy and planning conversation around development in an expanding city.

A few things popped out:

Room

Continue reading Housing demand and the regulatory path of least resistance: Seattle and microapartments

Prescriptive urbanism vs. market urbanism – the tension between demand for more housing and the desire to curate great cities

San Francisco skyline w/ crane. CC image from Omar Omar

Tales from two cities:

San Francisco: From Ilan Greenberg in The New Republic – San Francisco’s Gentrification Problem isn’t Gentrification. Greenberg compares the public debate (often writen, and discussed previously here) in San Francisco compared to more the more familiar narrative in other cities.

Continue reading Prescriptive urbanism vs. market urbanism – the tension between demand for more housing and the desire to curate great cities

Density – the limitations of zoning

San Francisco. CC image from C1ssou

A few days ago, Charles Marohn posted “It’s so much more than density” on his Strong Towns blog. In it, Charles pushes back against the idea that density is good, arguing that the reality of great places is more complex. Marohn’s conclusion is spot on, but throughout his

Continue reading Density – the limitations of zoning