Smart growth costs quantified and a sprawl debateA couple items today. First, an attempt to quantify "the costs of smart growth", by which they mean from housing supply restrictions that usually accompany most "smart growth" programs - whether or not that's the true spirit of the movement (it is often hijacked by no-growthers). Fortunately, according to this study, the cost penalty is generally not a problem in Texas. An excerpt from the Planetizen summary:
Second, an Orski op-ed on the continuing dispersion/sprawl trends in recent census stats. He talks about a Bruegman vs. Katz debate on sprawl and whether it's the result of natural human choice from affluence or the result of government policy distortions. I like the concluding paragraph:
The report estimates that planning-induced housing shortages in more than fifty metropolitan areas penalized homebuyers by increasing housing costs by $100,000 to $850,000 per median home. In fifty more, costs are increased by $25,000 to $100,000.
More than 90 percent of the total $275 billion cost is in just twelve states (CA, NY, FL, NJ, MA, IL, WA, CT, AZ, CO, OR, MD) whose cities have the most restrictive land-use rules. The report recommends that those cities relax their rules and urges other cities not to adopt similar rules.
Neither man saw the "smart growth" movement as having much influence on the future demographic patterns or playing much of a role in reshaping America's urban landscape. Absent from the discussion was the conundrum posed by Anthony Downs, senior economist at Brookings and echoed by David Brooks a columnist for the New York Times, two of the most astute observers of demographic trends. "The biggest factor influencing future population movements," wrote Downs, "is the projected addition of some 64 million people by 2020. It is hard to conceive that this population bulge could be fitted into already built-up areas where neighborhood opposition to increasing density already is fierce." ("Can We Tame Sprawl," Innovation Briefs, March/April 2002). Adjusting to this population bulge has already begun, noted David Brooks in an April 2004 article in the New York Times. "We are living in the age of the great dispersal," he wrote. "Americans continue to move from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West, but the truly historic migration is from the inner suburbs to the outer suburbs, to the suburbs of suburbia. From New Hampshire down to Georgia, across Texas to Arizona and up through California, you now have the booming exurban sprawls that have broken free of the gravitational pull of the cities and now float in a new space far beyond them." ("Our Sprawling, Supersize Utopia," The New York Times Sunday Magazine, April 4, 2004; see also, "The Age of the Great Dispersal," Innovation Briefs, May 2004). Note: Latest US Census Bureau data continues to show heavy domestic losses in the largest metropolitan areas. From 2000 to 2005, metropolitan areas over 5 million lost 2.7 million population through domestic migration. Metropolitan areas between 250,000 and 5,000,000 gained approximately the same amount. The heaviest domestic losses have been in the core counties. New York City has lost more than 800,000 residents or nearly 10 percent of its population since 2000. The city of San Francisco has lost more than 13 percent of its population. For a detailed analysis by county, see "Domestic Migration: US Metropolitan Areas: 2000-2005," http://www.demographia.com/db-2005migdom.pdf.As I've mentioned before, Houston is one of only three cities in the twelve 5m+ metros that are still attracting domestic migration, along with DFW and Atlanta.