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Housing

The Problem with Drive-By Urbanism

The Problem with Drive-By Urbanism

Fast-growing Austin is at a crossroads. Officials there are weighing the adoption of a new land development code. Will the city settle for the status quo—drive-by urbanism and a code that doesn’t adequately address the need for more housing? Or can something better emerge?

Making Room in the New Seattle (Part 2)

Making Room in the New Seattle (Part 2)

In Seattle, policy victories tend to be long-fought and hard-won. What will it take to achieve a city that can flex, evolve, and meet its residents’ needs in a more organic way, without every change becoming an arduous political battle?

Making Room in the New Seattle (Part 1)

Making Room in the New Seattle (Part 1)

A remarkably diverse coalition of activists is moving the needle in Seattle on the question of who—and what—belongs in the city’s neighborhoods. And they’ve scored two big policy victories in 2019. Is it enough?

Three Cheers for Lexington's ADU Ordinance

Three Cheers for Lexington's ADU Ordinance

Lexington, Kentucky recently proposed an ordinance that would allow accessory dwelling units. Nolan Gray explains how ADUs are good for renters, good for homeowners, and good for the city — and why Lexington’s ordinance is (almost) perfect.

What Happens When Housing Becomes a Cash Crop?

What Happens When Housing Becomes a Cash Crop?

Giorgio Angelini’s documentary Owned chronicles the commoditization of homeownership in the U.S. and its fallout—both for those who were left out, and for those who were sold promises that we’re now struggling to fulfill.

6 Rules for Unlocking the Potential of Mid-Size Cities

6 Rules for Unlocking the Potential of Mid-Size Cities

Mid-size regions like Kansas City don’t have the affordability struggles of, say, a fast-growing Denver or Seattle: they have their own unique challenges instead. Here’s how the “natural” affordability of homes in these places can be turned into an opportunity for an urban renaissance.

About Those Swelling Suburbs....

About Those Swelling Suburbs....

Another spate of headlines suggest that rapid suburban growth means that Millennial homebuyers must prefer the greener pastures of suburbia to life in inner-city neighborhoods. Here’s why the real story is not that simple.

Making Normal Neighborhoods Legal Again

Making Normal Neighborhoods Legal Again

The growing movement to end exclusive single-family zoning—as Oregon just did in its cities—is not a radical or untested experiment: it’s a return to a historical norm. The actual radical experiment is the strange notion that a neighborhood should be required to contain only one type of home.

A City Shaped by Many Hands

A City Shaped by Many Hands

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.

Is Strong Towns NIMBY, YIMBY, or What?

Is Strong Towns NIMBY, YIMBY, or What?

Some YIMBYs don’t like Strong Towns and claim we are anti-development NIMBY. Yet, NIMBYs hate us because we insist neighborhood evolve, adapt, and change. What’s going on here?

Change is a Constant in Most Neighborhoods

Change is a Constant in Most Neighborhoods

We tend to talk about neighborhoods in a static way: if they’re not rapidly, visibly transforming, we assume they’re not changing at all. A look at the data provides a helpful reminder that the places we live are actually changing all the time.

Eating Jell-O With Chopsticks

Eating Jell-O With Chopsticks

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.

You Can’t Judge Housing Affordability Without Knowing Transportation Costs

You Can’t Judge Housing Affordability Without Knowing Transportation Costs

You might get more house for your money in an outer-ring suburb. But if you have to own and maintain multiple cars, are you better off? Common measures of housing affordability don’t include transportation costs, and so they fail to capture a realistic view of the true cost of living in certain places.

The Connectedness of Our Housing Ecosystem

The Connectedness of Our Housing Ecosystem

That high-end apartment building over there has nothing to do with the low-income families who need affordable housing over here, right? In fact, we’re all more connected than we tend to think—and a new study demonstrates this in a surprising way.

Who Benefits From Lower Housing Prices?

Who Benefits From Lower Housing Prices?

It’s hard to have a coherent conversation on affordable housing when most of those involved in the discussion directly benefit from — and in some ways depend on — higher housing prices.