News and Commentary
Kim Hart writes in Axios about why cities should ease zoning restrictions to help individuals and businesses recover from the COVID-19 economic crisis. She cites a series of policy briefs from the Mercatus Center that highlight ways to help communities recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy briefs each examine a policy area that could especially benefit from reform: housing, commuting, and permits and zoning.
ProPublica reports that Connecticut, one of the most segregated states in the U.S., continues to reject opportunities to engage in reforms to address residential segregation.
Adam Millsap writes in Forbes about why zoning reform is needed post-pandemic. He argues that the massive disruption to various industries is going to cause a massive reallocation of resources, including labor. This means that in order to have a more flexible labor market, workers need to have an easier time changing housing.
Christian Britschgi writes in an article for Reason about a recent tweet from President Donald Trump that seems to contradict his own administration’s housing policy. The tweet suggests that his administration may scrap the Obama era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, despite the evidence that the tweaked rule implemented by the Trump Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has thus far been beneficial to supporting affordable housing.
A post in the blog Greater Greater Washington by Meena Morar examines how public housing in Washington, D.C. was manipulated by public officials to perpetuate segregation in the district.
Stanley Kurtz writes in the National Review about how “Biden and Dems Are Set to Abolish the Suburbs”. The article examines the housing plans of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and argues that the former vice president seeks to dramatically urbanize American suburbs. Kurtz asserts that Biden’s plans to reinstate enforcement of the AFFH rule and his plans to freeze the HUD’s Community Development Block Grants unless localities follow federal planning guidelines together constitute a “Democrat[ic] war on the suburbs”.
The D.C. Council is making tweaks to an affordable housing subsidy program proposed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, reports the Washington Business Journal‘s Alex Koma. The program that Bowser proposed would have offered real estate tax abatements to developers who build in areas with high demands for affordable housing. The council’s proposed changes seek to lift restrictions proposed by Bowser and expand the program to the entirety of the district.
Frances Dinkelspiel writes in the blog Berkeleyside about a Berkeley, California neighborhood group’s recent victory in a California appeals court that now allows a neighborhood group to sue the the University of California, Berkeley for its efforts to increase enrollment. The neighborhood group argues that the university is not taking the needs of its neighbors into account when it plans to increase enrollment and asserts that additional environmental reviews must be conducted before the university can increase its enrollment. UC Berkeley has said that it will appeal the court’s decision to the California Supreme Court.
A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research examines the social costs of foreclosure and finds evidence of, “significant non-pecuniary costs of foreclosure, particularly for foreclosed-upon homeowners”.
In an article for the American Economic Review, Saleem Bahaj, Angus Foulis, and Gabor Pinter examine the relationship between the value of a firm’s owners and a firm’s investment. Using microdata from the U.K., the authors find that, “£1 increase in the value of the homes of a firm’s directors increases the firm’s investment by £0.03”.
A new research letter published by the Journal of the American Medical Association examines transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 in New York City amongst pregnant women and finds an association between large household membership, household crowding, and low socioeconomic status with transmission of the virus.
An article by Shima Hamid, Sadegh Sabouri, and Reid Ewing published in the Journal of the American Planning Association finds that connectivity matters more than density in explaining the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The authors explain that, “large metropolitan areas with a higher number of counties tightly linked together through economic, social, and commuting relationships are the most vulnerable to the pandemic outbreaks.”￼