A strong town naturally blends housing styles at many different price points.
This can be accomplished with several tactics:
- Encourage small-scale incremental development to empower local residents and increase community wealth.
- Adjust zoning laws to allow for more choices within the marketplace.
- 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.)
Incrementalism is not an end in itself. It’s not about stubborn insistence on some sort of small-is-beautiful aesthetic for its own sake. Incremental development is a practical means to the end of resilient, financially sound places.
Trying to navigate opaque bureaucracies, just to get permission to build something that used to be legal everywhere, is like eating Jell-O with chopsticks: tedious and unsatisfying. No wonder people find pragmatic work-arounds instead.
By choosing to rehab and rent the homes in the worst condition, these developers are helping low income neighborhoods find a new future.
6 months ago, my partner and I tried to buy an ailing property in a poor neighborhood and transform it into quality affordable housing. Here’s what happened instead.
It’s about so much more than just the cost of housing.
Do you care about increasing housing options and ensuring that your town can appropriately house its residents?
Become a member of Strong Towns, the movement that is pushing for true housing choice and a resilient housing market.
The newer generation of public housing projects offer a superficially pleasant facsimile of a New Urbanist neighborhood. But these are places built all at once, to a finished state, and deeply dependent on fragile institutional arrangements.
Incremental development doesn’t mean slow development. Here’s how big places that need housing fast can get there using the Strong Towns approach.
"Developers in my city are only building luxury housing. They're not building anything that ordinary people can afford." If you’ve said this lately, or heard someone else say it, here are five possible reasons why.
Denton, Texas seemed to be on the verge of an important step toward financial resilience: allowing its core neighborhoods to incrementally evolve and provide much-needed new housing. Now, is the city on the verge of moving in the wrong direction instead?
Since 1913, Pennsylvania has allowed cities to tax land at a higher rate than buildings. This decision has led to some unique success stories: cities that have weathered post-industrial decline and revitalized their urban cores.
Incremental approaches are often cheaper, faster, or have less risk than sudden approaches. Let’s explore different types of incrementalism.