Back to the burbs: given no other choice

The popular narrative about younger generations aging and leaving urban centers is presented as inevitable. But most news stories fail to examine why many younger people are taking up residence in suburbia—or whether or not the suburbs they’re choosing have more in common with cities or the exurbs their parents preferred. Perhaps their move to the suburbs is more a product of constrained housing supply that leaves them with little choice but to decamp as they grow.

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Anderson: Address the Housing Crisis's Underlying Issues

The following op-ed was crossposted from Roll Call.

President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke seem enamored with renting foreclosed properties to blunt price decreases and to stir economic recovery, but that’s a bandage for symptoms as opposed to a real cure.

Instead, we need to learn from the problems that landed us in this mess in the first place, working to bring government policies in line with good business sense and to incentivize market-driven development.

Or, in the words of investor Warren Buffett, “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

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Smart growth news – December 14

Report: Housing shift seen as suburban spreads lose appeal
The Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2011
Is Sacramento’s long-standing love of suburban living winding down? A blunt new analysis says yes, but some local builders say no way. The report released this week by the Urban Land Institute contends that Sacramento and other California metropolitan areas are about to discover they have an “oversupply” of classic subdivision housing, thanks to a sea change in what buyers want and can afford.

Is the Housing Bust About to Slam City Budgets?
Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2011
City budget crises could be getting worse in the coming years as the housing bust shakes out by shrinking property tax revenues, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Lawmaker’s high-speed rail plan: Will it fly?
CNN, December 13, 2011
How fast can high-speed trains come to the Northeast corridor? Not fast enough for Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida. The chairman of the House Transportation Committee recently came out with a proposal to create a high-speed rail line – trains that can travel more than 200 mph – between Boston and D.C. in 10 to 15 years. Can it be done in half the time Amtrak said it would take?

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Capital Region housing developers finding opportunity in infill housing: “We are not afraid anymore”

Cross-posted from our coalition member Empire State Future.

Throughout New York State demand for downtown living continues to expand as baby boomers are ditching the cul-de-sac and generation X and Y are re-envisioning their American Dream. The change in consumer preference has already driven a million people to the “City that Never Sleeps”, New York City, since 1990, with another million New Yorkers expected by 2035. As people continue to find the value and livability of urban living in New York City and many of New York State’s 61 smaller cities, reuse of existing commercial and industrial structures as well as infill development on abandoned and vacant lots will play a role in serving the increasing demand for residential units.

As each state-commissioned Regional Economic Development Council releases their strategic plans, major calls for smart growth are materializing. This is advantageous for numerous developers who have already made the transition to building residential properties in existing downtowns and on or near main streets. Over the next few weeks ESF is going to highlight a few of these projects from across the state to show what New York’s cities will have to offer in the years to come.

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Smart growth news – October 26

The 19 Building Types That Caused the Recession
The Atlantic Cities, October 25, 2011
Among his favorite examples of all the standard real-estate products built ad nauseum across the country over the last half-century, Christopher Leinberger likes to point to the Grocery Anchored Neighborhood Center. This creation is generally about 12 to 15 acres in size on a plot of land that’s 80 percent covered in asphalt. It’s located on the going-home side of a major four-to-eight lane arterial road, where it catches people when they’re most likely to be thinking about what to buy for dinner.

The Federal Government’s Smart Growth-Inspired Landlord
Streetsblog, October 25, 2011
Robert Peck says he’ll gladly pay more to locate office buildings near transit – the time saved commuting makes it worthwhile.

WNY development panel airs plan
Buffalo News (N.Y.), October 25, 2011
Creating jobs and finding ways to get the biggest bang for the buck out of investments made in Western New York are emerging as top priorities in the strategic plan being developed by a state-backed economic development council. … It encourages “smart growth” that minimizes sprawl and leads to investment in the region’s cities and town centers.

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Smart growth news – August 12

‘Walkable’ communities, transit lines touted
The Advocate (La.), August 11, 2011
Walkable urban communities and those along transit lines are where the money is in commercial and residential real estate development, a national real estate developer and visiting fellow of the Brookings Institution said Wednesday. Chris Leinberger, who will return to Baton Rouge next week for the Center for Planning Excellence’s Smart Growth Summit, told a group of local developers, architects and planners that the era of interstate-driven suburban development is tapped out.

Can a new plan to rent out foreclosed properties help the housing market?
Washington Post, August 10, 2011
First, there’s a glut of foreclosed properties out there putting downward pressure on home prices — and that weak housing market, as we’ve seen, is putting a damper on economic growth. At the same time, there’s an undersupply of rental units, which is causing rents to increase faster than inflation in places like San Jose, Washington, D.C., Seattle, New York, Houston, and elsewhere. Is there a way to address both of those problems at once? Possibly.

Bloomberg, Schwarzenegger: U.S. Must Modernize Its Infrastructure, Invest In High-Speed Rail
Huffington Post, August 11, 2011
With GDP languishing and job-creation rates well below what’s needed to put the economy back on track, the key to recovery lies with American infrastructure, says a bipartisan group headed by Michael Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Details emerge about planned multi-million downtown development
Midland Daily News (Mich.), August 11, 2011
“Midland has tremendous existing attractions with the Dow Diamond Stadium, a vital downtown and the Tridge,” said Pat Gillespie, president of the Gillespie Group. “At the Gillespie Group and Caddis Development, we recognized an opportunity to further enhance Midland’s appeal by developing a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood that would connect the stadium with the existing downtown. We believe the development is a natural fit for the city, as we envision it will support a diverse, walkable and vibrant neighborhood where residents can live, shop, work and play. We are excited about the possibilities.”

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