Cities

The real cost of property regulations

Regulations may increase rather than decrease property value

UPDATE 6/8/07: The study I mentioned in this post was was based on data collected and analyzed by two researchers at Oregon State University. Those researchers, William Jaeger and Andrew Plantinga, have produced a more complete report (pdf) containing a full economic analysis and no editorializing. The conclusion, however, is basically the same: there's no evidence to support the claim that Oregon's growth management protections have harmed property values, at least in aggregate. When Measure 37 was up for a vote in 2004, supporters claimed that Oregon's planning laws were so draconian they reduced property values by $5.4 billion per year. That eye-popping figure may be one of the central reasons voters were inclined to support the measure. (Voter support has since severely evaporated.) As it turns out, however, that $5.4 billion cost to Oregon's property owners was a chimera. To unmask the $5.4 billion illusion, Georgetown University's Law Center just published a rigorous empirical study of trends in Oregon property values and found that all those land-use regulations have cost, well, not much at all. In fact, they may have added value, at least on average. I won't walk blog readers through the whole study, but the Georgetown report should be required reading for those following the issue closely: it represents by far the best-researched examination of the question to date. Perhaps the most damning finding is one of the simplest: a comparison between property values in Oregon and other states from 1965 to 2005. As it turns out, Oregon's highly-regulated property slightly outperformed values in neighboring California and Washington, though it lagged Idaho by a little. Oregon also outperformed the national average.

More of what bike-friendly looks like

Blue lanes, cage locks, and cyclibraries

Separate bikeways are the lead actors in bike-friendly cities, but many supporting actors complete the cast: bikes on transit facilities, good traffic law enforcement, even bike "lifts" on steep hills. Three more worth mentioning are blue lanes, parking cages, and cyclibraries. Blue lanes.

Schadenfreude time

When vacations turn into work

If I was a real blogger, I would occasionally post little bits that didn't really have much to do with my principle concerns, but which I found illuminating or amusing, right? I submit this, which just surfaced as I was clearing my desk: "The Tyranny of the 2nd Home." It's even in the "Escapes" section.

Two Green Builders Take Trains Leaving From Different Stations…

U.S. schools betting on benefits of going green When we were kids, the only thing green about our schools was the vomit-hued paint on the bathroom walls. But times change, and these days, schools across the U.S. are incorporating green features that save money, improve student performance, and help protect the planet. The trend is growing so much that the U.S. Green Building Council recently adopted school certification standards; 27 schools have been certified, and nearly 300 are on the waiting list. Lindsay Baker, who manages the program, says the past six months have been “overwhelming. There is a general …

The 'Terminator' eyes Cali farmland

Schwarzenegger to California farmers: Considuh this a divorce

There’s a fair amount of debate on Gristmill about how much green cred to give the Governator — that A-list action hero of enlightened Republicanism. I don’t follow California politics closely enough to venture an opinion. But I do know that promoting a policy that will result in yet more suburban sprawl and evict small- and mid-sized farmers from their land — all in an effort to save chump change from the state budget — hardly does Schwarzenegger credit. Over on Ethicurean — which has been running great stuff lately — blogger Mental Masala lays out Schwarzenegger’s retrograde scheme. Masala …

In case you mistook Schwarzenegger for a green

Ahnold cuts transit funding. (via Michael O'Hare)

Banner day for B.C.

Lots of good stuff north of the border

The Vancouver Sun has the scoop. First, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, just released a draft "eco-density" plan that sounds, at least to my ears, like exactly the right way to deal with the city's expected population increase: curbing sprawl by concentrating new housing in compact, transit-friendly neighborhoods:

Nice Berk If You Can Get It

Berkeley, Calif., goes all crazy with the green ideas Six months ago, voters in Berkeley, Calif., overwhelmingly approved a measure to reduce the city’s emissions 80 percent by 2050. Now proposals have been laid out to accomplish that goal, including requiring builders to use green materials, making landlords provide free bus passes to tenants, informing residents of the size of their carbon footprint, and helping sun-ergize every roof in the city. Berkeleyites’ personal behavior will also be held to a high standard, with incentives provided for walking to work, buying local food, saving energy, and BYOB (bag, that is). Some …

On moving to New Orleans, a city defined by water

Wayne Curtis is a freelance writer who’s written for The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, American Scholar, Preservation, and American Heritage, and is the author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. He recently traded Maine winters for New Orleans summers. Thursday, 24 May 2007 NEW ORLEANS, La Someone once wrote that eating a tomato grown on a fire escape demonstrated the highest order of faith in civilization and technology. To hell with the tomato. If you really want to show your faith, move to New Orleans. The city that always seeps. …