News and Commentary
Harvard economist Ed Glaeser and former New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett were interviewed on To The Point, a podcast from KCRW, an NPR affiliate in the Los Angeles area. They discussed how concentrated poverty, not necessarily density, makes cities vulnerable to COVID-19.
Kea Wilson writes in Streetsblog USA about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent revision of COVID-19 commuting recommendations for employers which suggest that employers should, “offer employees incentives to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving or riding by car either alone or with household members)”. She explains that the CDC’s previous COVID-19 recommendations suggesting that employers encourage employees to commute by driving were actually in conflict with long-standing CDC warnings about the negative health impacts associated with driving. Nevertheless, she laments that the CDC still encourages employers to incentivize all modes of transportation other than public transit, despite evidence from East Asia that public transit can be used safely in a pandemic.
Nena Perry-Brown writes in UrbanTurf about a proposed amendment to the Washington, D.C. zoning code that would enable more alley dwellings to be built by-right. Currently, lots that are categorized as alley-facing tax lots are not permitted for development. Additional proposed rules include the creation of alley studios and performance spaces.
CoreLogic, a real estate data analytics firm, released a new U.S. Home Price Insights report which finds that home prices increased year-over-year by 5.4% in April 2020. The firm also predicts that 2021 will mark the first year in more than nine years that home prices decrease in the U.S.
Ingrid Ellen, Erin Graves, Katherine O’Regan, and Jenny Schuetz write in a new report from the Brookings Insitution about strategies for increasing affordable housing during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They primarily focus on acquisition of existing housing and provide case studies about that policy.
Brent Orrell writes in an American Enterprise Institute article about how elites have fled American cities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mirroring experiences from previous disease outbreaks in which those who could afford to, left large cities for the less-dense countryside. He suggests that for cities to make a comeback from this pandemic, urban elites will need to step up and lead a restructuring of zoning laws and additional reforms to draw people back into cities.