Archive for the 'Urban' Category

What is an Improving Housing Market?

Lee Hachadoorian on Jan 22nd 2011

I recently participated in a survey in which I was asked if I thought the housing market would “improve” over the next year. I assume that they meant to ask whether I thought home prices would increase, but it does prompt the question, why are higher home prices an improvement? After all, if you thought gasoline prices would go up next year, and a survey asked you whether gas prices would “improve”, you would probably say “No”. And it would be plain bizarre to phrase the questions in terms of whether you thought the gas “market” would “improve”.

But the question surely captures the way most homeowners and many homebuyers think about housing, that higher prices are regarded as an improvement. Housing is unusual among consumer goods in its dual role as consumption good and investment vehicle. Continue Reading »

Filed in Economics,Housing,Urban | Comments Off on What is an Improving Housing Market?

Cuomo’s Property Tax Plan

Lee Hachadoorian on Jan 11th 2011

Andrew Cuomo has taken the reins as New York State’s new governor. He has sounded some typical Republican themes of lower taxes and cost-cutting measures. But, while talking generally about how high New York State’s tax burden is compared to the rest of the country, and promising to “veto any increase in personal or corporate income taxes or sales tax,” the tax that he has chosen to really go after is the property tax, a tax which is not even collected by the state. Furthermore, the history of property tax limitation measures suggests that statewide constraints on the property tax will only increase the demands on state governments. Continue Reading »

Filed in Public Finance,Urban | Comments Off on Cuomo’s Property Tax Plan

Rapunzel as Urban Allegory

Lee Hachadoorian on Dec 31st 2010

Sometimes coincidence can generate unexpected connections. I happen to be reading Jane Jacob’s incomparable The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In it, Jacobs skewers several planning archetypes that she saw as dominating (in 1961) orthodox urban planning. One of these archetypes was Le Corbusier’s Radiant City, or “towers in the park”. In this design, 95% of the ground is left as open space, while all housing and commerce is contained in isolated skyscrapers. This ideal ended up being influential in the design of American public housing, mostly lower-income but some middle-income projects as well. Jacobs goes on to criticize this type of design as creating open spaces that nobody actually uses because of the lack of street level commerce.

Then, last week, I took my daughter to see the Disney movie Tangled, a modern retelling of the Rapunzel story. Continue Reading »

Filed in Planning,Urban | One response so far

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