Monday, August 06, 2007

Multiple Choice on Housing

A multiple choice quiz:

Should you believe....
a. the results of surveys
b. the conclusions of Robert Frank
c. neither

Answer: c


Shawn said...

...I'd love to see something written down somewhere that would be a viable d)____ (correct answer here). Any suggestions?

As a landscape architect/planner, this is important to me...

Mungowitz said...

Well, any idiot can criticize, as my entire life demonstrates.

I lean toward this, and would be interested in your answer, Shawn:

d. Allow people to build, and live in, the kinds of houses they want to. This would include the building of entire neighborhoods, and new urbanist planned communities, with deed restrictions and neighborhood associations. Also, stop subsidizing building of roads, and production/ transport of gasoline, so that people who drive pay the actual marginal cost of doing so, instead of getting subsidized by the public.

Shawn said...

Your last sentence is a key that I've not studied at all.

Short answer; that's fine...though, as much of a libertarian as I am/am becoming, (and as frustrated on a daily basis as I am with planning councils and zoning boards), it's tough to believe that we can make property rights work as the sole arbiter of who builds where (without zoning to dictate). Parcel 'A' may build a new urbanist community (let's call it 'Seaside'). Parcel 'B', one lot away from the ocean, may build 6-story condos with a 5' property setback, viewing over this 'Seaside' to the ocean.

How do we compensate property owners in Seaside who didn't prefer to be living in a fishbowl? Property rights is the 'answer', but I can't think of a quantifiable way to get it done, and the regulatory answer is a slippery slope, as a trip to will show you.

I completely agree as to your assessment of how to handle building standards within a particular community. PUD's typically allow us to do this, to a degree, though we need to get the PUD approved by the regulatory agency (city or county), so that's a bit of a 'false good'...I'd prefer, as you're saying, to let the developer build whatever he wants, and if it sells, it sells...if not, tough shit to him, perhaps he shouldn't listen to us in the first place...maybe we're a bad planning firm, maybe he and his other developer friends should go elsewhere, maybe there should be less planning firms.

I'm fine with your 'd'...but once we get outside the parcel lines, I'm not sure how to handle it. I'll think about your 'subsidizing roads/production/transport of gas' situation more...that's a good way to force 'sprawlers' to pay for their big-lot preferences.

Have any reading links as to exactly how that subsidizing happens?

Shawn said...

My first post while sitting at the adult's table.

I put my post on my blog, should you wish to comment there instead. I'm worried this will get buried...

Shawn said...

...and it has gotten buried. drat.