News and Commentary
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas of the Connecticut Mirror writes about the stark divide between the rich and poor (which correlates strongly with white and non-white), in southwest Connecticut, one of the richest parts of the country. Resistance to any new housing, especially in the wealthier, more opportunity-rich parts o the state, is fierce and prevents upward mobility.
Thanks to tight zoning regulations in cities across the U.S. (not just “superstars,” but smaller ones as well), growth rates in urban areas are declining while growth in the suburbs is on the upswing.
While rent control is a generally counterproductive policy, Matt Levin of CALmatters writes about how a recent anti-rent gouging bill, which would cap rent increases for larger landlords, is a rare win for tenants who frequently lack the muscle landlords have. Demographically, owners are more likely to be white and wealthy, making them more likely to vote giving them more power over the political process.
Reviewing a paper published in Urban Affairs Review, Joe Cortright at CityLab highlights the paper’s findings on increases in property values, gentrification, and displacement. Overall, the effects of gentrification on moving are relatively low, partly because renters in general move quite frequently.
A new paper by Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Michael Storper argues that broad-based up zoning isn’t a solution to inequality. Richard Florida opined favorably on their findings. However, most of their analysis focuses on the geography of jobs and where mid- and low-skill workers choose to live. To the extent they argue that upzoning won’t help inequality, it is due to an influx of high-skill, high-earners (which is true), but they ignore the fact that gentrification occurs without upzoning and conflate rising house prices due to luxury construction in highly inelastic markets, like San Francisco, with construction in areas with more liberal zoning laws, like Atlanta. See Michael Lewyn’s critique at Market Urbanism here, and Joe Cortright’s here.