a strong town naturally blends housing styles at many different price points.
This can be accomplished with several tactics:
- Remove distortions in the federal mortgage market which favor the creation of single-family homes while discouraging any other housing style. (We explored this concept in depth in a series of articles in February 2016.)
- Encourage small-scale incremental development to empower local residents and increase community wealth.
- Adjust zoning laws to allow for more choices within the marketplace.
A recent Newsweek article on urbanism is chock-full of nonsense.
One historic home at a time, St. Paul, MN is demonstrating how a critical mass of Strong Citizens can be an incredible asset to a troubled area, and how local government can play a constructive role in the incremental revitalization of such an area.
Read our most popular content from Housing Week.
The changes in our neighborhoods go far beyond a simple response to what homebuyers and renters wanted. In fact, governments at all levels implemented policies that effectively outlawed the kinds of traditional neighborhoods that Americans had lived in for generations.
While the most common image of poverty is a high-rise public housing project, in fact many of America’s poor live in the very type of neighborhood where investment is impeded by current financing regulations.
Life in the exurban fallout zones of the housing crisis is precarious. Overbuilt and half empty, many suburbs will never climb out of debt and decline. Federal housing policies put them in this place.
Federal loan programs do not support the mixed-use, multi-family development essential to these communities.
Development is not meeting the demand for walkable neighborhoods.
Eliminating arbitrary commercial caps -- or at least relaxing them -- along with some other modest changes to mitigate risk would expand opportunity and investment at no cost to taxpayers.
This week, we turn our attention toward federal housing policy and the way it distorts the market. If you're frustrated about the lack of choice in housing, issues of affordability, gentrification and blight, you're going to want to pay attention this week.
When you don't know how to deal with something, destroy it. That's the strategy Baltimore and several other major cities have employed in the face of thousands of vacant homes.
What will happen to stagnant, poorly aging neighborhoods that are neither verdant and exclusive like the most desirable suburbs, nor vibrant and urbane like rapidly gentrifying city centers? They might actually be a sweet spot at an affordable price.