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Yes, You Can Build Your Way to Affordable Housing | Sightline Institute
"Houston, Tokyo, Chicago, Montreal, Vienna, Singapore, Germany—all these places have built their way to affordable housing. They’re not alone. Housing economist Issi Romem has detailed the numerous American metro areas that have done the same: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, and more. Many more. They have done so mostly by sprawling like Houston.

In fact, Romem’s principal finding is that US cities divide into three groups: expansive cities (sprawling cities where housing is relatively affordable such as those just listed), expensive cities (which sprawl much less but are more expensive because they resist densification, typified by San Francisco), and legacy cities (like Detroit, which are not growing).

Romem’s research makes clear that the challenge for Cascadian cities is to densify their way to affordability—a rare feat on this continent. Chicago and Montreal are the best examples mentioned above.

In Cascadia’s cities, though, an ascendant left-leaning political approach tends to discount such private-market urbanism for social democratic approaches like that in Vienna.

Unfortunately, the Vienna model, like the Singapore one, may not be replicable in Cascadia. Massive public spending and massive public control work in both Vienna and Singapore, but they depend on long histories of public-sector involvement in housing plus entrenched institutions and national laws that are beyond the pale of North American politics. No North American jurisdiction has ever come close to building enough public or nonprofit housing to keep up with aggregate housing demand. This statement is not to disparage subsidized housing for those at the bottom of the economic ladder or with special needs. Cascadia’s social housing programs provide better residences for hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise be in substandard homes or on the streets.

But acknowledging the implausibility of the Vienna model for Cascadia may help us have realistic expectations about how large (well, small) a contribution public and nonprofit housing can make in solving the region’s housing shortage writ large. Accepting that reality may help us guard against wishful thinking.

Because adopting a blinkered view of housing models is dangerous. Adopting the view that Vienna, for example, is the one true path to the affordable city—a view that fits well with a strand of urban Cascadia’s current left-leaning politics, which holds that profit-seeking in homebuilding is suspect and that capitalist developers, rather than being necessary means to the end of abundant housing, are to be resisted in favor of virtuous not-for-profit or public ventures—runs the risk of taking us to a different city entirely.

In the political, legal, and institutional context of North America, trying to tame the mega-billion-dollar home building industry—and the mega-trillion dollar real-estate asset value held by homeowners and companies—in order to steer the entire housing economy toward a Viennese public-and-nonprofit model may end up taking us not to Vienna at all but to a different city. It might end up delivering us to San Francisco. So . . ."
housing  houston  tokyo  chicago  montreal  vienna  singapore  germany  economics  policy  cascadia  sanfrancisco  seattle  phoenix  atlanta  chrarlotte  dallas  lasvegas  orlando  raleigh  sprawl  northamerica  us  canada 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Going Home From the South, a New Holiday Exodus - NYTimes.com
"It wasn’t so long ago that the holiday exodus went in the other direction, and the reversal highlights a basic change in American culture. The Southeast has replaced California as the place where many people now go to find the American dream.

“You have the feeling that you perhaps might be a little more successful here than if you stayed in Southern California,” said Laura Voisin George, 52, an architectural historian in the Atlanta area. She is enough of a Californian to be planning to volunteer, again, at the Rose Parade in Pasadena this New Year’s Day – but not enough of one to live there anymore.

Since 1990, the share of residents of Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas who were born in California has roughly doubled, according to a New York Times analysis of census data. The number of Oregon, Washington and Colorado natives – as well as natives of Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – in the Southeast has surged, too.

These migrants are crowding into airports this week, including Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport. And when they are back in their old hometowns, many will end up singing the praises of their new ones, potentially recruiting new migrants in the process.

“I love California – I love California,” said Christoph Guttentag, a San Francisco Bay Area native and dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke University, where he has been since 1992. “But the prices are too high, and the commutes are too long.”

In 2012, 2.2 million – or 8 percent — of people who were born in California lived in one of the 16 states that the census defines as the South, according to the analysis. In 1990, the share was only 5.7 percent, and in 1960 it was 3 percent.

At the same time, the Southeast now sends fewer of its own natives to California and some other states.

“In the Depression and World War II, you had people leaving the South in very large numbers,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center. “That’s reversed.”

The main reason is a version of what economists call arbitrage: Growing numbers of people have realized that many of life’s biggest costs — including housing, energy and taxes — are lower in the South, said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which specializes in regional economic data.

House prices, for example, were already lower in the Southeast in the early 1990s than in much of California and the Northeast – and the gap has widened significantly since."



"Whatever the drawbacks, many of the Southern migrants say they are happy with their move. In particular, they say that places like Atlanta, Nashville and the Greenville area of South Carolina still have their original advantages – lower cost of living and slower pace of life – but have also become more cosmopolitan. The options for good food, music and art, among other things, have blossomed.

For better or worse, depending on your views, the migration patterns have also begun to change politics. The Democrats’ miserable showing in 2014 notwithstanding, the party now wins a substantial number of votes in Georgia and North Carolina – not to mention Florida and Virginia – from natives of the Northeast and the West.

Years ago, Mr. Guttentag was eating dinner back in California with friends, and they could not understand why he had chosen to make his life in North Carolina. To them, the South seemed “exotic and not well understood and slightly mistrusted,” he said. “Now, you talk to people and, they say, ‘Yeah, I know someone who moved there.'”

As an admissions officer, Mr. Guttentag has also participated in one of the causes of the trend: the nationalization of the college-admissions market. The number of high-school students at Duke from California has roughly doubled since the early 1990s, and other Southern colleges also attract more students from outside the region than in the past. A fair number of those students end up staying after graduation.

Over all, more than 40 percent of North Carolina residents in 2012 were born in another state; a generation ago, it was less than 25 percent. Similar increases have occurred in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. And the increases often have a self-sustaining nature to them.

James and Sarah Terry – who both teach at colleges in the Atlanta area and have two small children – miss much about their life out West. “You might have said we left Seattle kicking and screaming,” said Mr. Terry, in an interview from Napa, Calif., where the Terry family is for the holidays. She added, “We were just really sad to leave.”

Yet they were able to buy a house in Atlanta, and the weather lets them have a garden. They have no immediate plans to leave."
california  2014  migration  south  atlanta  raleigh  charlotte  georgia  northcarolina  housing  costofliving  losangeles  sanfrancisco  boston  nyc  southeast  northeast  seattle  nashville  southcarolina  tennessee 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Walk [Your City]™
"What? An online pedestrian empowerment tool for any citizen to become an engaged stakeholder in their community. The W[YC] platform will allow anyone to auto-magically create their own guerrilla wayfinding sign to export, print and install.

Why? Walk Raleigh, our initial guerrilla (unsanctioned & self initiated) wayfinding project, has resonated with so many people, both home and away (even the BBC came to town!), we had to make it accessible for more people to use. Walk Raleigh has even been adopted as a pilot educational program in Raleigh, N.C. Wait, whats guerrilla or tactical urbanism anyways?

How? By using existing digital resources and the newly released “google maps” walk tool, we will develop a simple point and click sign-making experience for even the most novice of computer-user. Anyone will be able to auto-magically download their own sign."
srg  edg  activism  classideas  templates  communities  community  exploration  guerillawayfinding  wayfinding  northcarolina  raleigh  urbanism  urban  cities  walking  projectideas 
november 2012 by robertogreco
How Does It Feel To Be A Problem? - Culture - The Atlantic
"Man listen--Negroes like Atlanta. Negroes like Chicago. Negroes like Houston. Negroes like Raleigh-Durham (another area that doesn't make the cut, for some reason.) Negroes like Oakland. Negroes have the right to like where they live, independent of Massa, for their own particular, native, independent reasons (family? great barbecue? housing stock?) Just like Jewish-Americans have the right to like New York--or not. Just like Japanese-Americans have the right to like Cali--or not.

This particular Negro loves Denver--and Chicago too. But the notion that black people are pawns on a chess-board, which conservatives and liberals move around in order to one-up each each other, has got to go. Sometimes--just sometimes--a black dude isn't a problem. He's just a dude trying to marry a beautiful woman, raise a decent kid, retire to an tropical island, smoke some good herb, and drink some good rum.

Let Portland be Portland. And let black folks be themselves. We're getting along fine."
cities  race  ta-nehisicoates  portland  atlanta  nyc  houston  dallas  progressive  urban  diversity  chicago  seattle  austin  minneapolis  denver  oregon  losangeles  raleigh  2009  gentrification  politics  policy 
may 2010 by robertogreco

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