A concerted research effort has brought minimum lot sizes into focus as a key element in city zoning reform. Boise is looking at significant reforms. Auburn, Maine, and Helena, Montana, did away with minimums in some zones. And even state legislatures are putting a toe in the water: Bills enabling … [Read more...]
Should governments nudge land assembly?
For a reading group, I recently read two papers about the costs and (in)efficiencies around land assembly. One advocated nudging small landowners into land assembly; the other is an implicit caution against doing so.Graduated Density ZoningAlthough he's mostly known for parking research and … [Read more...]
Book review: Last Harvest
In the standard urban growth model, a circular city lies in a featureless agricultural plain. When the price of land at the edge of the city rises above the value of agricultural land, “land conversion” occurs. In the real world, we’re more likely to call it “development” and it is, of course, a lot … [Read more...]
California Housing Reform: 2021 Edition
Current events being what they are, I’m happy to be writing about something positive. Once again, we’re getting an ambitious housing reform package in the California legislature. The various bills focus on removing obstacles to new housing and are a sign of the growing momentum Yimby activists have … [Read more...]
Stuck in the (Missing) Middle
Everybody loves missing middle housing! What’s not to like? It consists of neighborly, often attractive homes that fit in equally well in Rumford, Maine, and Queens, New York. Missing middle housing types have character and personality. They’re often affordable and vintage.Daniel Parolek’s new … [Read more...]
Are Dollar Stores Wiping Out Grocery Stores?
I had always thought dollar stores were a nice thing to have in an urban neighborhood, but recently they have become controversial. Some cities have tried to limit their growth, based on the theory that "they impede opportunities for grocery stores and other businesses to take root and grow." … [Read more...]
Even NIMBYs should be YIMBYs
Jeremiah Moss, a New York blogger, just wrote a long article complaining about the bad habits of his new neighbors in the East Village. I suspect many, if not most readers, of his article would think: maybe we need to zone out new housing to keep out the yuppies!But it seems to me that this … [Read more...]
“Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities” Out Today
Alain Bertaud's long awaited book, Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities, is out today. Bertaud is a senior research scholar at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management and former principle urban planner at the World Bank.Working through a pre-release copy over the past few weeks, I … [Read more...]