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New Urban Development

New Urban Development: Looking Back to See Forward

Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 244
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  • Book Info
    New Urban Development
    Book Description:

    The recent recession is one result of how local planning laws and practices have stifled competition, discouraged innovation, and artificially pushed up prices in America's most economically vibrant regions. Economist and consultant Claude Gruen unravels the story behind how these unintended consequences have resulted from the evolution of local zoning, growth controls, and laws intended to increase housing affordability.New Urban Developmenttraces how locally induced housing cost increases led federal policy-makers to toss out the safeguards against lending excesses that had been put in place during the 1930s. But the story begins much earlier, during the colonial era, continuing up through the mortgage collapse that ushered in the recession of 2008. In his sweeping history of these issues, Gruen considers gentrification, environmentalism, sprawl, anti-sprawl movements, and more. His clarification of how urban development change occurs backs up his recommendations for increasing the production of housing and replacing obsolete commercial and industrial spaces with development that serves the twenty-first-century economy.New Urban Developmentspecifies thirteen changes to policies at the federal, state, and local levels to provide better and less expensive urban housing, desirable neighborhoods, and thriving workplaces across the country.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5038-1
    Subjects: Business, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Constraints on Housing Additions Escalate Prices
    (pp. 1-21)

    The owner of any vacant land on your block, or in your neighborhood, or elsewhere in your city and county cannot build on that land without the permission of those you elected to govern your town and county. Even if you own the house you live in, you cannot remodel it or tear it down and rebuild without the approval of your local government. Your home may be your castle, but how you can change it, what it can look like, and where you can build a new one are dictated by the building codes and zoning ordinances of your...

  5. 2 Vitality from Growth and Freedom to Change
    (pp. 22-46)

    You know from chapter 1 that when housing production is constrained in cities or towns with the potential for growth, homes in those places become less affordable. Rising housing costs lower the living standards of residents and make it more difficult for renters to become owners. Working men and women react by seeking higher wages and moving to areas where costs are lower, especially housing costs. Lowering housing affordability and its quality per dollar also lessens the ability of local businesses to attract workers with the skills they require. So constraining housing production in an area increases the price of...

  6. 3 Encouraging the Expansion of Land Use … and Constraining It
    (pp. 47-74)

    The streets were not paved with gold in nineteenth-century American cities. But they offered working-class families a chance to earn their way up to a decent standard of living as well as to accumulate the beginnings of some wealth.

    In 1871 Henry George, a San Francisco printer and self-taught economist, explained why urban America offered opportunities that acted like a magnet to immigrants from overseas. He attributed these opportunities to the competition among the developers and competition among the owners of urban real estate. In his “Our Land and Land Policy,” George told his readers that because the land and...

  7. 4 Housing Market Structure
    (pp. 75-102)

    In somewhat the same way as computers are programmed with rules for performing specific calculations, laws, social norms, and physical conditions act as the operating rules that govern the choices available to the buyers and sellers in a particular market. In that sense, we may consider that markets “calculate” the price of goods and services from the data inputs of transactions between buyers and sellers.

    Understanding the structure of a market and recognizing the conditions affecting the structure provide a picture of how prices are determined in the market and permit us to anticipate the results likely to follow from...

  8. 5 How Neighborhoods Change, Why Occupants Change Neighborhoods
    (pp. 103-122)

    Machinery, factories, equipment, and the financial equity of businesses are all examples of physical capital that produce products that satisfy human wants. The knowledge, values, and relationships that spur production and creativity to satisfy human wants comprise equally important social capital. If social capital is to enable the members of a community to work together for their mutual benefit, there must be trust among the community’s members.

    That was a major finding of political sociologist Robert D. Putnam’s study, published in his 1993 book,Making Democracy Work, a summary of his twenty-year-long study of politics and social organization in Italy....

  9. 6 The Turn against Expansion and Growth
    (pp. 123-145)

    The “Indians” who threw tea into Boston Harbor touched off a revolution that gave birth to the United States of America. They were protesting against a government that restricted the supply of a common consumer item—tea. What followed from that protest was a revolution. The government of the new country that emerged from the revolution instituted a bias against interfering in trade and commerce. Its founders erected a fence—of law and habits of thought—between the government and the marketplaces where private parties allocated resources, including land. The government looked over that fence to regulate taxes, provide public...

  10. 7 Suburbanization and Sprawl
    (pp. 146-169)

    With theRamapocourt victory under his belt, Robert Freilich went on to become a leading hero in the battle against sprawl. He wrote in his book,From Sprawl to Smart Growth: “The techniques upheld inRamapowere quickly utilized in other jurisdictions (cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and states) over the next twenty-seven years to expand the role of planning, managing, and channeling growth not in suburban cities and counties on the development fringe and metropolitan areas.”¹

    Two universally laudable goals—maintaining the fiscal health of the communities where development takes place and encouraging the intensive use of land for...

  11. 8 Urban Policies for the New Economy
    (pp. 170-202)

    President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reported to have said, “A crisis is too good an opportunity to miss.” I suspect he was talking about how the economic and financial crises that ushered in the current recession should be remedied with alterations in national, rather than urban, policies. But what is implied in what Emanuel said applies even more so to urban America, because America cannot retain its position as one of the world’s strongest economies if its metropolitan production centers do not update and strengthen their agglomeration economies. These changes must be done during the same...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 203-210)
    (pp. 211-218)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 219-228)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-229)