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Linky Friday: Housing the World

Immigration:

immigration photo

Image by krebsmaus07

[Im1] Sam Bowman makes the case for arguing about immigration. Arguing with people who disagree with you on immigration is probably better than blithely dismissing them.

[Im2] Borders between countries and walls between families.

[Im3] Television has a tendency to portray Latino immigrants as criminals.

[Im4] As we look at what happened in New York and reconsider the Diversity Visa program, here is a look at another beneficiary of the program who stopped a terrorist attack.

[Im5] I’m not sure I can think of a more efficient way to breed anti-immigration resentment.

[Im6] Speaking of immigration and housing, the new New Zealand government is coming down hard against foreigners who want to buy existing houses. Some perspective from someone who immigrated to New Zealand.

Housing:

Gavin Newsome photo

Image by torbakhopper

[Ho1] Houses are getting bigger, but yards are getting smaller. That seems likely better than the other way around.

[Ho2] Pete Saunders writes of the limits of Build Baby Build.

[Ho3] Gavin Newsom has some ideas to alleviate housing costs in California and they’re not all bad! And maybe not a moment too soon.

[Ho4] Rhiannon Bury argues they can mitigate London’s housing shortage by building over railways. A quarter of a million homes!

[Ho5] Though often cited as a positive example, it turns out maybe rent control hasn’t worked in Germany, either.

Space:

haumea photo

Image by Kevin M. Gill

[Sp1] Dwarf planet Haumea – the oddly shaped onehas a ring.

[Sp2] NASA has a plutonium problem, but it’s working on it.

[Sp3] The mystery of the neutron star collision… solved?

[Sp4] I’ve lost track of whether or not we think Planet Nine exists, but NASA just sent out an indication of yes?

[Sp5] New tools to find habitable worlds?

[Sp6] We were a mistake. All of us. Everything.

[Sp7] The Pope chatted with some astronauts.

Healthcare:

[Hc1] Bob Tedeschi looks at how doctors handle patient bigotry.

[Hc2] There may be a new way to straighten teach, and Orthodontists are trying to put a stop to it.

[Hc3] Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry explains how a ton of our healthcare spending is being wasted.

[Hc4] This is really exciting! Dyslexia is one of those we don’t even know how common it really is, in part because we don’t know how it works. I’d always assumed it was strictly a brain thing.

[Hc5] Kumar Yogesh wants to unload medical records onto the patient.

Sex Crimes:

mental illness photo

Image by JenXer

[SC1] Ew.

[SC2] Here’s an interview with one of Kevin Spacey’s victims. And rumors from two years ago. Russell/Daniel has some things to say about a Slate article trying to minimize what Spacey did.

[SC3] In addition to being generally “crimes against women” should we actually think of sexual assault more as crimes against the young (PDF)?

[SC4] From Sam: Diana Moskovitz’s evisceration of the disbelief women endure in media is worth stopping everything to read. {Related}

[SC5] What… what precisely does Bernard Godard think rape is?

[SC6] Megan’s law is going global.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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216 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Housing the World

  1. SC4: I think there two things that are absolutely true and also absolutely irreconcilable. One is that women are not believed. The other is a belief in innocent until proven guilty and the problems of an allegation is not a conviction. This might be less of a problem in other countries but the United States has a very bad issue with overzealous prosecutors and police who are willing to hide exculpating evidence from criminal defendants, lie about it for years and/or decades, and never ever admit error.

    I don’t know how you solve both problems simultaneously.

    There is a when it rains it pours aspects to all the stories coming out against various powerful and famous men in the Harvey Weinstein which leads to a credible likelihood of the stories from all victims. But anonymous accounts still need to be questioned at times.

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    • I think the use of the word “alleged” is probably more a requirement from the legal department. If you drill into your reporters to use “alleged” and “claimed” when discussing crime stories, I would imagine that helps if there’s a lawsuit later.

      (You know, if you’re talking about someone later found innocent, or cases of mistaken identity, or the increasing problem of Internet Detectives running down the wrong man and 24/7 news blaring it on the screen for two hours until they realize “oops”).

      So if you get sued, you can point to “we never said you did it. We said it was alleged that you did it, or that police claimed you were responsible, etc. Which are true facts”.

      And the last thing you want, if it’s legal butt covering, is people using their own judgement. Because people have awful judgement.

      That being said, yeah — women aren’t believed either. If you ever want to be depressed, watch an internet thread about women and rape and see how quickly it turns into someone insisting everyone talk about prison rape OR about how many false rape allegations there are.

      I don’t really know how to square any of those circles.

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          • Hmmm. The vast majority of claims of rape (for example) are true. Read this. Couple those numbers with the fact that lots of rape victims never report the crime and that cop and prosecutorial standards differ as to what constitutes a “legitimate claim” and you get to an exceptionally high level of veracity.

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      • A couple of days ago a friend of mine expressed disbelief about all these allegations to me and that much of this harassment might be no more than a touch on the shoulder. She even went into women need to take responsibility for themselves by being careful and looking out for each other.Considering her sexual and professional demographics, I found this really shocking to hear from her. I even told her it sounded more than a bit like victim blaming and she is ignoring the power dynamics thing.

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    • I don’t understand Moskovitz’s argument against “allegedly”. But maybe “argument” is the wrong word. She concedes everything but doesn’t like the conclusion, so she swears at it.

      There is no magic number of accusations that make a truth. 95 allegations don’t constitute proof. Maybe the reporter should think about reporting the facts and letting the reader reach his own conclusion. Yeah, 95 allegations carry more weight than 1. The reader can come up with that insight on his own. I mean, seriously, does Moskovitz think that a lot of people are carrying around positive thoughts about Harvey Weinstein?

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    • :

      SC4: I think there two things that are absolutely true and also absolutely irreconcilable. One is that women are not believed. The other is a belief in innocent until proven guilty and the problems of an allegation is not a conviction.

      The problem is a little more deep-rooted than that. Benefit of the doubt in cases of sexual assault is usually giving regardless of evidence. With women, innocence of the accused is commonly assumed not just with He Said/She Said testimony, but of style of dress, past relationships, and other seemingly irrelevant distractions.

      IOW, if someone is caught at your house without your permission carrying a bag of your valuables to their car at 2:0 am when you are on vacation, there is a very good chance that person will be assumed guilty of a crime based on that information. It’s also quite likely that you will be perceived to be the victim of a crime.

      If you are a woman who has told some guy to F off in public and then hours later shows up at a police station with cuts, bruises, and that same guy’s DNA all over her, there’s a pretty damn good chance that he is not going to be either prosecuted and/or convicted. And if charges are filed, there’s a pretty good chance she is going to be seen not as a victim but as a morally questionable person.

      (Also, FWIW, this is not an issue confined to just women. If you or I were sexually assaulted, it’s pretty unlikely that we would get any relief via the criminal justice system either. Male victims are also commonly assumed to be primarily at fault for their own sexual assault.)

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  2. H02/H03: The H02 article seems to be more than different cities need different housing solutions. The poster you picked is indicative of another kind of stupid NIMBYism. There is a certain type of urban “activist” whose reason for existence is to rage that middle-class white professionals are moving back to cities. This is the anti-gentrification crowd and they mourn a bohemia that was or never existed and want cities to go back to the time when they were largely places for people who never fit into suburban life.

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    • These types of activists also like to yell at white families for leaving for the suburbs when their kids reach elementary school age because it leads to segregation and hurts children of color. The accusation isn’t necessarily false but you need to allow people to be good rather than less evil. If you are going to accuse people of being either evil gentrifiers or evil segregationists no matter what then they are going to say screw you and do what is in their interest.

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      • Those are also the same people who argue that wealthy white folks should send their kids to crappy inner city schools because if they don’t 1) racism and 2) they are needed to turn the schools around and improve them, ie “you should sacrifice the education of your kids to improve poor inner city schools for later generations of kids that aren’t yours.”

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    • Its an interesting if very dark take on what robots will do. I think I agree most about the end of sex and losing interest in other humans. Many people find the current dating process horrible and confusing, especially since its based on raw sexual chemistry and most people don’t have an ounce of raw sexual chemistry. Robotic romantic and sexual companions would will possess will be seen as easier to deal with because they would be programmed to be pleasing. Although as the West World remake demonstrates, many people find this morally problematic to and want the full force of current norms to exist for human-robot interactions for a variety of reasons.

      Since robots can be programmed to be pleasing, humans will find them easier to get along with for platonic companionship to. Robots aren’t going to socially isolate people for even the most slight weirdness if we do it correctly.

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      • Lee this is an interesting comment.
        In my own limited views of social norms I mostly think of people being biased towards actual human intimacy. The thought that a person would prefer intimacy with something other than a human at first glance looks foreign to my vantage point.

        I guess it goes back to subjectivity, people will prefer different things, and some people wouldn’t prefer the actual hassle of going through the maze of arbitrary social norms to get to actual human intimacy.

        If this is the case, then can we agree that humans are a social animal only to a degree?

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    • thinks robots will be the end of humanity and not the start of Utopia

      Why can’t it be both? At some not-too-distant point I will be dead. I will probably have living descendants, who in turn have a reasonable shot at producing offspring of their own, etc., so there is a reasonable chance of my genetic legacy living on. In the event that there is continued interest in early baseball history, I expect my writings will occupy a dusty back corner of the literature, so I have an intellectual legacy as well. Yay, me!

      But this is not the only possible sort of legacy. If humanity creates true AI, complete with sexbots, and realizes that we no longer desire messy human interaction, then the robots are our legacy. Why exactly is this a bad thing? I don’t see why intelligence contained in a sack of dirty water should be the only kind that counts. And while we are genetically programmed to favor our gene line as our true legacy, it seems to me that this is something that culture can and does trump. Otherwise why would I care about my early baseball writings?

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  3. Im3: Television tends to have many problematic portrayals that encourage bad politics. Most immigrants have no criminal history or when they do its light misdemeanor stuff.

    Im4: People forget about the good stuff.

    Im5: You are absolutely right in this. The Swedish government is dedicated to doing the right thing as they see it and that includes helping the groups they see most vulnerable first. In this case that means refugees over Swedish citizens from other vulnerable groups. Its just a mindset that some people have and it seems common in Sweden. The problem with this mindset is that it doesn’t take into account certain political and psychological realities.

    Ho1: Non-agricultural families need less open space than urban and suburban families. I suppose big houses and smaller yards would be easier to retrofit into walkable and transit oriented communities.

    Ho5: A source less hostile to government intervention in the economy might be more convincing. We know CapX will be quick to find any fault with rent control or any other government intervention into the holy market.

    Sp1: Maybe it just got engaged. What’s it to you?

    Sp6: Probably the best evidence for the divine yet. Not much evidence but the inherent implausibility of the universe is some evidence.

    Sc1: Grossing out or worse the person that is supposed to represent you in the criminal justice system seems to be a really bad idea.

    Sc5: Its dark but I’m a little bit happy that Tariq Ramadan turned out to be a criminal scumbag. What loathsome man with a loathsome and anti-Semitic ideology.

    Sc6: Lets make a bad idea that doesn’t work and the criminal justice system into an even bigger mockery and due process violation international. Beat the State Department officials who thought of this with a rusty spoon.

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    • Lee,
      Sp6 — not at all. talk to some data compression theorists. The universe only makes sense as a simulation, using the principle of parsimony. And that’s a far better argument for God than just “why didn’t we disappear?”

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    • Not terribly surprising. I was at UC Santa Barbara during the transition from the hippie era to the preppy era. The hippies in particular still controlled the student newspaper and radio station. There was much eye-rolling, even from students inclined to be sympathetic. That stuff was largely ignorable, but if it started interfering with day-to-day lives, the response would have gone beyond eye-rolling.

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        • Totally agree. The problem is that lots of the actual “adults in the room” preach (not teach) a type of ideological thinking which supports the radicals’ conclusions and absurd behavior. It’s really refreshing to see lefty students themselves rejecting that nonsense. It may be a sign things are tipping back the other way.

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          • actual “adults in the room”

            And those that aren’t preaching are appeasing or capitulating. If some student protesters tried to interrupt one of my classes that was a graduation requirement, chances our my prof would have shut that crap down quick with the full support of the Dean, and if he hadn’t, the my classmates would have.

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            • I dunno. If a group of students stormed my classroom and tried to disrupt class, my first thought would be “This is literally not the hill I want to die on” (given the seeming preponderance of school shootings).

              I’d hit the “magic keys” on my computer that are supposed to silently summon campus police, and if I could safely get myself and my class out of the room, I would.

              If it were my ecology class, I suppose we could reconvene in the arboretum for a surprise lesson on tree morphology or something, but yeah, I’m not taking a chance that “protestors” aren’t armed in some way. It’s not worth my life.

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    • I love this piece for a couple of reasons. One, it presents what I often see at universities (a small group of activists doing something stupid or overreaching while most people roll their eyes) and an actual liberal backlash to cultists that are a few feet away from being in Bob Avakin’s orbit.

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  4. Im3 – it seems that half of telenovela characters are criminals of one form or another.

    (but a bit more seriously, it’s also very likely that criminals in general are over-represented on American (and every other country’s) TV shows compared to the overall population)

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    • I’m guessing that that’s because criminals are perceived as being more interesting than the shlubs who go to work every day, obey the law, and aren’t awful people.

      It’s kind of how the tv (and internet) news biases heavily towards the awful things people do.

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      • Well, people want drama, crime is dramatic.

        People also want shows that neatly pack the drama into digestible time frames (about an hour), and they want a bunch of those packets.

        Hence you need a hellhole.

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        • I think there’s a thing where it’s also “cozier” in mystery parlance to make the hellhole someplace relatively lovely. The wouldn’t-really-happen is key to the fun for some viewers; they want a sharp separation between their fictional drama and the depressing panoply of real life awfulness.

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          • Ah, yes, the sleepy little town where there is suddenly enough murder by the end of the first season to spike the per capita murder rate and make it to the top of the list (How many people live here? You’ve had how many murders? Why isn’t this place the second home of numerous federal alphabet soup agencies? And who is this person who keeps solving all the crimes, anyone taking a hard look at them?)

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          • Makes me think of Midsomer Murders.

            Which if you haven’t encountered it, is like a 20 year running British show about a fictional county/parish/whatever the heck the British divide their country into. Idyllic country scenes, quiet little towns,and the highest murder rate in the world.

            Seriously, it’s not just “someone gets murdered” and the main character (a detective) figures it out. No, multiple people get murdered. Sometimes to cover up the murder, sometimes because “why not, I’ve already killed”, sometimes because “Hey, I can sneak in my murdering and they’ll blame the original murder for it”….

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            • There was a BBC cop show from the 1990s called Pie in the Sky about a cop in rural Cambridgeshire that wanted to retire and open his own country restaurant. He was dividing time between his cop job and his restaurant. One of the interesting things about the show is that the crimes were a lot lower on the felony scale than murder and more realistic for the time and setting.

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            • I was going to mention Midsomer Murders. I love that show, but you ain’t kidding about the murder rate of that British county. Some episodes have five or six murders.

              Watching it also gave me a greater appreciation for the satire in Hot Fuzz.

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                • Its funny because its true. They were originally planning to give Simon Pegg’s character a girlfriend but decided it would be too predictable or something so they gave all of her lines to the chubby partner.

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                  • I meant it in all earnest, actually. Hot Fuzz is one of my favorite movies, I have watched it over twenty times, Once, four days on a row.

                    Their relationship flows naturally, without making, so so speak, a big Fuzz out of it. It just is. You don’t need to see the sex -hell, there might not be sex- but you feel the emotional bond. That’s not bromance; that’s same sex marriage

                    Plus, in the one-year-later epilogue, they go together early in the morning -Nicholas leaving from Danny’s house- to put flowers on Danny’s mother’s grave. That’s married couple stuff.

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  5. Ho3 –

    The Bay Area’s job losses stem from two distinct phenomena: Some employers are slashing positions, and others are unable to hire. Some economists attribute this second problem to structural barriers posed by skyrocketing housing costs. The lack of affordable places for workers to live appears to have hobbled the region’s ability to fill jobs as briskly as in prior years.

    Or ya know, employers could raise their wage/salary offers.

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  6. Hc5: Yes, please. My wife and I each have to change insurance coverage twice in the next 12 months. First because my former employer is discontinuing the retiree plan that came with me when they acquired the company I was working for. Second because we each turn 65 in 2018. Somewhere along the way I’m sure that one or both of us will change providers. For most of 30 years when we’ve changed providers I’ve tried to get copies of our medical records. Every time I got the same song and dance — we’ll give a copy to your new provider as a professional courtesy, but for you it’s multiple dollars per paper page, no that doesn’t include films, and no you can’t have a digital version.

    I’m tempted to change providers just so that when they try that stunt I can sue them.

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  7. Here’s a story that has a strange overlap with the Weinstein thing.

    Donna Brazille (yes, *THAT* Donna Brazille) wrote a tell-all book in which actual and for-real bad things are said about Hillary and the DNC. Like, remember Berniebros arguing that the primary was rigged? Well, Brazille comes out and says that the primary was rigged.

    Elizabeth Warren, for that matter, was asked “Was the primary rigged?” and Elizabeth Warren answered “yes”. Like, I suppose that people can say something like “well, she didn’t, herself, use the word ‘rigged'” but she was asked “Do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?” and she answered “yes”.

    Why does it have overlap with the Weinstein thing? It has to do with the question of whether these stories would be coming out if Clinton still was seen as having power/influence. It seems to me that if Clinton was not seen as having power/influence, these stories wouldn’t be coming out… and we’re in a situation where the stories are, indeed, coming out and when members of “the future of the party” are asked about it, they jump in the pile-on.

    (Another take I saw that was pretty good said that the DNC sees Clinton as doing more harm than good at this point and is bringing out the long-knives in order to protect itself. The DNC just might be poised to capitalize on a bloodbath among the Republicans in the 2018 election but if Clinton is still front and center, it might hurt those chances. The calculus is that they need to get Clinton to shut up and they will improve their chances thereby and it’s just that simple.)

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    • Eh, Brazile is selling a book, and this sort of conflict sells.

      Warren has always been cool towards Hillary Clinton, she was the very last Democratic female US Senator to endorse Clinton, and did so conspicously after all her peers did.

      So both of these cases are people not ‘defecting’ from Clinton as much as serving their own interests (long held or otherwise) – and the poltical junkie press picked up these stories because that’s what the poltical junkie press does. That’s *all* it does.

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      • Plus, Brazile has now been a key player in not one, but two of the most spectacular Presidential candidate defeats that should have been layups in American history.

        It’s probably both personally and professionally vital for her to distance herself as far as possible from any responsibility for the 2016 fiasco.

        Which is such consumate BS, as Brazile was a DNC officer (vice chair*) during most, if not all of the Obama adminstration. She wasn’t Truman getting clued in on the Manhattan project when she took over from Wasseman Schultz. Brazile had an positive responsiblity to at least be aware of the state of DNC finances – and at least to ask some questions. That she claims she was blindsided by the state of things when she took over reveals her own management neglilence.

        *vice chair is not quite as an important position as deputy chair. It looks like there are several vice chairs, who perform various ad hoc functions, and one deputy chair, who acts like an executive vice president. (though there’s also an actual hired executive staff of a CEO and their minions)

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            • Yes, well, perhaps “premature”. As I understand it, the actual funds couldn’t be released until there was an official nominee. Which didn’t happen until the convention. The victory funds were for the general election, not the primary — so couldn’t be handed out until the primary was over. (If they had been, people would have claimed Clinton was buying state primaries).

              Therefore, for quite some time, HRC sat on a lot of money that she couldn’t do squat with until the Democratic Party officially picked someone. Which often happens much earlier, but hasn’t the last two cycles. (In 2008, for instance, HRC released her delegates in advance of the convention, which meant Obama because the official nominee before the Convention. In 2016, Sanders didn’t — which meant the nominee wasn’t official until the Convention vote).

              Edited to add: Some of the money was routed into the DNC for list-building purposes and the usual long-term investments, but the vast bulk of the money flowed to states once the general election began.

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            • There’s some stuff on line that says that specific article frames issues in a way that is true enough, but not the whole story.

              That article is also from after Clinton clinched the nomination, where a Candidate-Party agreement that gives the Candidate the lion share of the money and pretty much direct control over the entire Party aparatus is standard.

              Brazile’s contention was that she came across a Candidate-Party agreement of this sort back in 2015 – and not the usual pre-nom Candidate Party agreement that everyone (Clinton, Sander, O’Malley, etc) normally enter into – and the wikileaks dump has this early ‘standard’ agreement, and not anything Brazile is talking about.

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              • I read last year’s piece as (1) identifying use of a combination of formal and formal means to route money from the states; and (2) the reluctance of state parties to speak out for fear of retribution or being seen as given comfort to Republicans.

                The questions I have would be (a) did the Minnesota get money back? and (b) how does George Clooney feel about whether money he donated to help downballot candidates actually did so?

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            • Well, generously one might say she legitimately confused the 2015 agreement and the 2016 agreement (wherein Clinton, as the party candidate, took control of the DNC as is always the case).

              That’s a bit harder to believe given she placed it in her book, with loaded language. (Although now she’s shocked, SHOCKED SIR, that people think she was implying anything was rigged! She said the very opposite, she checked and there was none!).

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        • You’re probably right about all that, but I take her sudden “revelation” more as a sign that the Democratic party has officially moved passed Hillary’s style of politics. That it’s dead and gone. But we sorta knew that after the last election cycle.

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    • Jay,
      So far Brazile is quashing some of the actual stuff that the DNC did. If she wanted to talk about canning Bernie supporters from the voting rolls, she by all means could.

      But I think that treads too close to illegal for her taste.

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    • Here’s the part of the drama I’m waiting to hear more about: The Hillary-aligned DNC has criticized Obama for not being more of a team player back in 07-08, and hammered Obama for setting up OFA as a non-DNC org. And keeping it that way. My guess is that Obama realized even back then that the DNC had a pro-Hillary institutional bias which would, and did, actively work against his interests.

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    • A couple of links.

      Here’s an article from the Warshington Post with more from Donna Brazile which includes this illuminating story:

      As one of her party’s most prominent black strategists, Brazile also recounts fiery disagreements with Clinton’s staffers — including a conference call in which she told three senior campaign officials, Charlie Baker, Marlon Marshall and Dennis Cheng, that she was being treated like a slave.

      “I’m not Patsey the slave,” Brazile recalls telling them, a reference to the character played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film, “12 Years a Slave.” “Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

      And here’s a Wikipedia article about Antimicrobial resistance.

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      • A couple more links!

        Here’s an Open Letter from the 2016 Hillary for America team. The paragraph that has everybody gigglesnorting is the first one (I took the liberty of adding emphasis):

        We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.

        The NYT also has an article that is… what’s the term the kidz use these days? “Throwing shade”?

        Here’s a paragraph:

        But the rules do not give that power solely to the chairwoman of the party. That decision is ultimately made by the D.N.C. after consultation with Democratic leaders in Congress and Democratic governors.

        Do we have any reason to believe that the Democratic leaders in Congress or the Democratic governors were even talking about this at the time?

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    • Or it could be complete bullshit to sell books:

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-dnchfa-agreement-donna-braziles-growing-pile-of-nonsense

      As I was writing this post, news broke that Brazile also claims in her book that after Clinton’s fainting episode she seriously considered replacing Clinton on the ticket with Joe Biden and Cory Booker because her campaign was “anemic” and had taken on the “odor of failure”. She chose Biden-Booker because she decided they had the best chance to shore up support from working class voters. But Brazile says she “thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”

      This adds an important new detail to the story because this is a ridiculous claim. The chair of the DNC has no power to unilaterally replace a candidate on the ticket. The candidate must resign from the ticket or die – I believe there may be a reference to ‘incapacitation’, candidate on life support after a stroke, etc. But none of those three things happened. If one of those things does happen the decision falls to the entire DNC – a few hundred members from across the country – to meet and decide on a replacement. This is a power Brazile quite clearly did not have. So the whole storyline makes no sense and did not happen.

      More probable is that when Clinton fainted she started brainstorming who should replace her if she turned out to be seriously ill and resigned from the ticket or died. That makes total sense. She had zero power to replace Clinton unilaterally and the choice wouldn’t have been hers regardless. But as interim chair of the DNC she would have been a major player in the decision-making. So it makes sense that she might have started gaming out possible scenarios. But she seems to have taken this plausible interlude and recast it as a moment of decision in which she could see Clinton was flagging among working class voters in the midwest, considered replacing her with Joe Biden but finally could not break the hearts of the women who supported Clinton.

      This is all pure fantasy. She’s married a non-existent power with a highly improbable prescience to create a kind of retrospective, fantasy football version of the nomination in which the momentous and weighty decisions all fell to her. It is highly reminiscent of the agonizing call in which she purportedly informed Bernie Sanders that he’d been right all along and the nomination race had been “rigged”.

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  8. Building more of course can only help with housing, but raising wages would help much more.

    No matter how tall an apartment building is, there is a minimum amount of rent per square foot that must be charged to cover the cost of construction and land.

    In downtown Los Angeles, that is about $2.50 at minimum. Which for a studio apartment translates into about $1800/ month, which requires a after-tax income of about $4,000 a month, or about $60K per year.

    For a studio. The type of apartment a newly graduated intern would have. An intern who is likely carrying a large student loan debt, and earning 30K if they are lucky.

    There isn’t much we can do on the cost side of the equation. Land isn’t going to get cheaper, and construction costs aren’t either.

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    • I understand your reasoning into why it looks like raising wages would have merit to change the parameters to acquiring an apartment for locals.

      The problem I see is that if the wages aren’t competitive with other areas, what’s keeping capital formation (and for that matter potential taxes) from leaving the area to go some where with a less expensive wage rate?

      [assuming the area is currently above some arbitrary measure of equilibrium for wage rates already]

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      • Your problem works in the other direction as well, doesn’t it?

        Right now, capital is investing in downtown apartments, which are all competing for a finite (and shrinking) pool of eligible renters.
        At some point the market will be saturated with apartments. Except lowering rents will help only slightly, because the gap between incomes is so wide; that eligible income threshold (which is based on construction cost and land cost) can’t lower by very much.

        Meaning that capital will eventually have to look elsewhere for investment opportunity.
        Wages that rise in comparison to rents creates a larger pool of renters to sell to.

        Prosperity, that thing that happens when wages and prices are in a positive balance that meets people’s needs, is a complex thing. It needs a lot of variables to align, some of which are conducive to command, others less so.

        Gavin Newsom’s [Ho3] laundry list of proposals is about right, in that he recognizes that there are a lot of fronts and angles to consider.

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        • LA has the worst possible mismatch-
          High vacancy rates, yet escalating rents

          “With so many available units, building owners are offering lavish perks, from six months of free rent to one year of free parking to try to lure tenants. The median price of a one-bedroom in DTLA is about $2,500 per month, according to rental website Zumper.

          “The stuff that’s being built right now is really targeting the very top of the renter’s pool,” CoStar senior market analyst Steve Basham told KPCC. “The majority of the renters in L.A. are not going to be able to afford that.”

          The article asks why they don’t just offer lower rents, but they really can’t.
          Some up-front freebies can be amortized over the life of the investment, but a permanent reduction in rental income would push the project to be forever underwater.

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        • Ah, it appears there are at least two problems with equilibrium going on simultaneously.

          1.) It looks like the first in the frame of reference that you suggest is probably correct. The cost of living and high rent should be creating a higher local wage equilibrium.

          2.) An artificial wage suppression may be coming from companies trying to compete with wages that aren’t localized.

          [For clarity note above I didn’t say capital looking for investment, or investment at all. I mentioned capital formation. It’s not the movement of existing wealth, but the creation of new wealth.]

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        • Well part of it, Chip, is that LA makes it so hard to build that of course the developers build the stuff they think will yield the highest returns with the lowest odds of it getting rent controlled. That’s kindof to be expected. Likewise, in the example you are presenting if the developers were permitted to wildly overbuild luxury units then
          A) those units would suck renters out of lower level housing and depress rent generally and B) if it didn’t then those buildings would get foreclosed on, rejiggered to lower price point ranges of housing then rented out.

          I mean, hell, I agree raising wages would make it potentially easier to pay rent. Except, of course, if everyone’s wages raised then rent would rise to match absent an increase in building supply.

          But at the end of the day the ability of the local and state government to directly make wages go up is rather limited whereas their ability to expedite the construction of more housing stock is considerably greater.

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          • How does LA make it hard to build?

            I wish I could embed a photo, so I could snap a picture from my apartment window, showing the absolute forest of construction cranes across the LA skyline.

            There are about a dozen highrises, and a dozen more midrises that are either newly opened or under construction, representing thousands of new units.

            Its not hard to build compared to other dense urban areas in advanced nations.
            The limiting factor is always market absorption and desireability. Not all neighborhoods will pencil out for a 50 story building, even if the government urged them to build it.

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            • This may be a Western thing. Denver has its own large flock of construction cranes stretching from rapidly gentrifying River North on the north side all the way down past the Denver Tech Center on the south. Both high-rise offices as well as apartment towers. Not quite so tall, townhouses and condos. Someone is asking permission to build a 90-story mixed-use tower downtown. Insanity.

              Edited to add: … and people are moving in faster than the buildings can go up.

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            • Off the top of my head, Chip, there’s rent control/rent stabilization to start with. Who the fish would ever build a building aimed at mid market housing if there’s a chance the regulatory authorities are going to sweep in and freeze it in amber.
              As with most cities the NIMBY’s run amok. Want to add an in law unit to your single family home? You’d better install steel shutters because when the neighbors find out it’s going to be like a scene from The Purge.
              The articles abound, of course about anti gentrification people screaming against the construction of high rises in general. Environmental complaints, traffic complaints, etc.
              Beyond that, of course, I get the vibe that LA’s neighboring communities simply don’t want to build so even if urban LA does build those single family neighboring communities won’t. Silicon Valley, for instance, is 99% single family lots and if the huge moneyed tech giants try to build something denser the locals faces melt off like nazi’s from raiders of the lost ark.

              Outside of the rent control schemes I don’t know for sure if the regulatory apparatus in LA is worse or better than the east coast or not. A subjective indicator, though, is you see a lot more rich people buying multiple mid-range housing units in NYC and Bosh-Wash and turning them into luxury housing than you do on the west coast so that’s a positive indicator.

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        • If you’re the only person who got a raise, sure. If you’re the first person to buy a house after getting a raise, absolutely.

          Two days later? Any realtor worth her salt will tell you “houses in this neighborhood tend to be on the market for 3 hours before an offer is made. You should be able to raise your price $35,000 if you’re willing to wait 8 hours for an offer on your house.”

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        • I googled the cities with the most expensive rent.

          I got this:
          1.San Francisco, CA $3,590
          2.New York, NY $3,340
          3.Boston, MA $2,310
          4.Oakland, CA $2,280
          5.San Jose, CA $2,270
          6.Washington, DC $2,200
          7.Los Angeles, CA $1,970
          8.Miami, FL $1,900
          9.Chicago, IL $1,790
          10.Seattle, WA $1,750

          So then I googled the cities that pay the highest wages.

          I got this… but it’s frustrating because it bundles cities together. (#2, for example, is San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont and that’s one entry to the above list’s two entries… and since I’m doing this by hand, I’m only going to take the first city in the list because it’s easier):
          1. San Jose, CA
          2. San Francisco, CA
          3. Bridgeport, Conn
          4. Washington DC
          5. Houston, TX
          6. Hartford, Conn
          7. Seattle, WA
          8. New York, NY
          9. Oxnard, CA
          10. Boston, MA

          Do we see that as one hell of a correlation or not?

          Seems to me that it is one.

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          • I think Chip’s correct here. Wages *for a group* at T1, when rents are low, can’t be compared to wages at T2, for a *different* group, when rents are high. Two different sets of wage earners, But that’s a whole nother topic about gentrification and what not. You got into your ownership when, and because, you could afford it. Good for you! I’m also the proud owner of a home. So good for us!

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            • I suppose, on one level, that there is no such thing as equilibrium in our system.

              But the fact that there is only one high-wage city on there that isn’t also one of the cities on the high rent list (or one of the bedroom communities of that high-wage city) hints that, even if there isn’t equilibrium per se, there is something close to a there there.

              That’s 9 out of 10.

              Houston is the only odd man out.

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              • I think there actually *is* an equilibrium in our system. On average, our system continues to increase people’s quality of life and standard of living. On average. The problem is the anonymization of our metrics. Once individuals become the focus, then losses – relative or absolute – take priority.

                I don’t know that that’s a bad thing, do be honest. I know I don’t view *myself* as a randomized number in our economy.

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                • One should never assume anything about any given individual.

                  However, when you get to groups of individuals about the size of a city, you can make assumptions… such as “will the places with the highest wages also correlate with the highest rents?” and assume before you even look at the data that there will be a pretty good correlation.

                  And not feel particularly embarrassed when the correlation is only 9 out of 10.

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                    • It’s coming up with a hypothesis:

                      “The places with the highest wages will also have the highest rents!”

                      Coming up with a test for the hypothesis:

                      “I wonder what the cities with the highest wages are. I wonder if they’re the same as the cities with the highest rents (or the cities that are bedroom communities of the cities with the highest wages)… I know. I’ll google the top ten of both and see if they match!”

                      Testing the hypothesis:

                      Googling both lists and then comparing them and seeing if the hypothesis is falsified.

                      And we got to see what happened.

                      What’s the other theory, again?

                      “Only political ideologues could predict that”?

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                      • Right. You’re describing gentrification. And I know that you’re all in on that. But gentrification doesn’t arise because the income of folks living in those communities rises. Right? By definition, it’s the income and prospects of people who live outside that community rise which entails it happening.

                        So wage increases don’t drive rents, except insofar as *other people’s* wages are rising. If the local community’s wages were rising then they’d already be paying rents at a level rendering gentrification a non-issue.

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                        • That’s not gentrification (as I understand the term). I’ve seen “gentrification” as “people who ain’t us moving into our neighborhood and driving us out” rather than “when wages go up, rents go up”.

                          If wages go up for the people who live in a particular place, their rents will go up whether or not people from away move in.

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                          • I’ve seen “gentrification” as “people who ain’t us moving into our neighborhood and driving us out” rather than “when wages go up, rents go up”.

                            If wages went up commensurate with rents going up then gentrification wouldn’t be an issue, right? Am I missing something here?

                            Ahh. You mean something like a “class” change in the community’s identity. If so, yes, there’s that.

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                            • If wages went up commensurate with rents going up then gentrification wouldn’t be an issue, right?

                              Yes, it wouldn’t be.

                              But my criticism of the theory that wages should go up to help with rents was that it wouldn’t work.

                              Not that it would or wouldn’t have anything to do with gentrification.

                              (I’m about as pro-gentrification as I am pro-immigration in general. People should be allowed to move, if they’re so inclined.)

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                              • Yes, but that logic presumes that freedom of movement and capital will lead to optimal outcomes for everyone (or on balance) even tho we know at this point that it doesn’t. That global economic theory rests on the premise that everything, in the end, will equal out, and that employees wages will suffice for living conditions and corporate profits will be only marginally above the breaking point.

                                We’re no where near that eventuality, even if it were likely. As it is, and until then I suppose, economy is and will be very intertwined with politics.

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              • “Houston is the only odd man out”

                Houston cost of living is, was when I checked a year ago, at 94% of the country median.

                I love my town. One of the top cultural lives in the country, at bargain rock prices, and above par salaries.

                And the good season is just starting: and in eight more weeks Spring will come to town :-)

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          • Well, of course there is a correlation.
            The price of labor is connected to the price of rents, connected to the price of fuel, connected to the price of land.

            So yeah, all these things are connected in various loops.

            But they don’t all move in sync. They move at different speeds and sometimes in different directions.

            Wages have in the past moved upwards faster than rents. Depending on who, and where, and when.

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  9. HC2 – I had to get braces as an adult, and while my teeth were bad enough that Invisialign would not work for me, I would have really preferred that option. And if I could get it with a scan and for thousands less…

    But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Dental insurance doesn’t cover adult orthodontia very often (Boeing offered to pay 1/3 of the cost for adult orthodontia), so nice teeth very quickly becomes something only well-to-do people can have. Poor people have to suck it up and have crooked teeth. My parents could not afford to fix my teeth, and it was years before I could afford the braces, and now the crowns, to get them looking nice. If you look at photos from back then, my smile was always closed mouth. you never saw my teeth.

    So the professional org is basically saying that they are just fine having poor people being stuck with crap teeth because they want to protect their livelihood.

    My heart pumps purple piss for them.

    PS Children, on the other hand, should see a professional and have their progress closely monitored, because heads are still growing and a doctor might need to make a change midway through that a mail order service would likely miss. But as long as the service sticks to adults, and is honest about turning away cases that are beyond the ability of such devices to correct, I have no issue with it.

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  10. A little off topic, but the Navy has released it’s report regarding the 7th fleet. I figure has either already seen this, or is interested in it. Here is the actual report.

    ETA. This bit on the McCain collision amazes me. Bridge controls should not be that difficult to understand during normal operations. They should most certainly be easy to parse during combat, when stress reactions will limit the ability to notice fine detail.

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      • Thanks for those.

        One thing I think people forget is that a deployed peacetime Navy is totally unlike the Army, the USAF, and even the USMC. When those folks are not in the middle of a training evolution, they are pretty much on a 9-5[1]. Navy ships are never like that. Training evolutions are often stacked on top of normal duties, and sailors have to find sleep and other downtime when they can get it. It only gets more intense if you are doing actual operations, even if not combat related.

        A 6 month deployment is intense, and both physically and mentally exhausting as hell, and that is if everything is normal and goes according to plan. Sailor fatigue has been a constant problem with deployed crews, one that has most certainly not been helped by trying to make ship operations as efficient as possible in order to keep costs down.

        [1]Wartime combat operations are, obviously, a different ball game.

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  11. I am a bad person. We know this. I’ve discussed it in the past and do what I can to admit to it regularly.

    Today, I demonstrated it again.

    We all know about how The Gothamist and DNAinfo got shut down by their (billionaire!) owner after the staff held a vote in which they agreed to unionize.

    That’s something that sucks. I don’t particularly feel good about that part of the story and that’s not what demonstrates my badness.

    What does demonstrate my badness is the moment of pure schadenfreude that I felt when I read this tweet from one of the former writers for The Gothamist:

    the next person who tells me or my recently fired coworkers to learn to code is gonna be coding themselves pretty quick if u catch my drft— Noah Hurowitz (@NoahHurowitz) November 3, 2017

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  12. [Sp4] I’ve lost track of whether or not we think Planet Nine exists, but NASA just sent out an indication of yes?

    [Sp4] goes to a cool, but different link; but it do sent really matter. There’s a Planet Nine for sure. It’s name is Pluto.

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  13. Ho4, the dyslexia link, was quite interesting. We see dyslexia as a children’s issue, but it’s impact in life is massive. I am friends from grade school with a man with dyslexia (his mother and mine we’re best friends).

    He was barely able to finish high school after repeating a couple of courses (talk about social grade promotion; he’s an example of that); and while his sisters are successful professionals, he’s an electrician and part time taxi driver, unable to read a menu (we need to go to restaurants with pictures in the menu, or I have to read it to him) and he’s not capable to function in the modern, internet based society because he can’t work his way around a computer screen with drop down menus.

    Actually, Siri’s been a godsend to him. He can ask Siri for information that he’s unable to surf for.

    On the other side, he’s really good at math, the goto guy for help with math homework for his children and nephews and nieces.

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  14. SC2 [slate article on Spacey and the Good Doctor’s response]:

    I respectfully, and regretfully, disagree with the Good Doctor. The Slate article, for whatever other faults it has, is targeting a real thing when it comes to how pedophilia is seen as so different and so much more reprehensible than “normal” sexual assault. It seems to me there’s a sense of utter…not merely revulsion, but exclusion from the category of “human” that obtains with a charge of pedophilia that doesn’t seem to exist when the charge isn’t pedophilia, where the supposed dividing line of how “attraction” is centered rests on pubescence or pre-pubescence.

    I feel inconsiderate even making the point. And I want to say that I agree with the Good Doctor when he says that 13-year olds are children and therefore sex with them is assault on a child in a way that, say, sex with someone older might not be. What Spacey is alleged to have done (and frankly, I’m not sure how much is actually admitted/verified and how much is still only alleged) is still horrible.

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    • Ugh, I’m not sure how far into this I can go, , but can you clarify what you mean? Are you saying that exclusion-from-humanness shouldn’t happen? Because as I read the Slate article, they actually think it *should*, just not in the case of gay men in their twenties or older having sex with thirteen and fourteen-year-olds …. which seems an arbitrary place to draw the line.

      As far as the Slate article’s claims that this is all about gay panic, I don’t think so. Someone in my hometown is currently in the process of being tried for a similar crime, against teenage girls, and the rhetoric is pretty much exactly the same. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with said rhetoric** – just, the same phrases are being used almost to the letter.

      ******************

      ** I try not to agree with it, but it’s a set of feelings I struggle with, particularly given my own experiences of abuse, and there have been plenty of times when I just wanted to declare my abuser inhuman and get over it. (he’s one of those opportunistic pedophiles who is also an ephebophile, a sexual abuser of adults, and generally a horrible, terrifying person who really needs to be kept away from people other than same-age males he respects, which would benefit him as well as the rest of the world – and yet, he seems to regularly get away with so many things… it’s unsettling.)

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      • (Hm, to be fair, rereading the Slate article it seems they don’t think they’re inhuman, they just think the desire alone requires treatment and constant supervision, while remaining conveniently mute on the activity, and claiming that sexually assaulting 14 year old boys (who indubitably super-look 14) Does Not Qualify. So they’re…. word-slicing? I dunno man. I definitely see where the Doc is coming from on this one.)

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      • Thanks for your comment. I’m not really sure I can go much further into this, either.

        I have never been victimized in that way (or other way) and I have done zero research into the topic. Therefore I don’t feel I have much standing to comment one way or the other although I did comment. I also feel like I’m making something like excuses for one group of victimizers over another and engaging in a disgusting “who’s worse?” game when the better discussion lies probably elsewhere.

        In other words, I’m not answering your question, not because it’s not a good questions, but because I regret writing my comment. That’s not the type of subject about which I should be offering half-thought-out opinions.

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        • Well, that’s fair enough, and my objection to the article definitely has to do with the feeling that the writer was playing that game, but I didn’t feel that way about your comment.

          You’re allowed to change your mind about discussing it though. It’s a hard thing to talk about for anybody, regardless of experiences.

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  15. I’ve lost the link, but I read a terrific article that made the argument that San Francisco suffers from not a density problem, but a transportation problem.

    They overlaid maps of New York City and SF, and showed how people could work in NY and commute from outlying areas much easier than doing the same in SF.

    So getting a job in SF meant the demand for an apartment in SF was much more keen than the equivalent situation in NY.

    I don’t live in either area so I can’t speak to the truth of it, but I think the premise is generally true.
    When you have a city that for whatever reasons is a hotbed of job creation, efficient commuting is an alternative to people working within the immediate area and driving up rents.

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            • Man, I hear ya. It’s dispiriting stuff. I’d go with the ancaps if I thought it could survive the first contact with reality. But I just can’t get there. Hell, we already know from history how the free for all turns out. It turns into the state. So the problem is how to have a better state, and that means having a better culture.

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              • So the problem is how to have a better state, and that means having a better culture.

                Let me give you an “Amen” to that.

                I have no idea how to build a better culture.

                I have no idea how to *MEASURE* a better culture.

                I barely know how to *COMPARE* my culture today with the culture from 1992 (to pick a year at random that I also remember).

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              • Not saying it’s so, but what if the ancaps have the key? What if the key to a better culture is to not accord power?

                Flip the vantage point for a few moments, has the the escalation of power, and more central power made culture better today?

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    • This is one of those things people know to be true, but seem to ignore because it doesn’t offer a solution.

      The key to rising prices for housing is supply, and in an urban core, increasing supply means increasing density. Increasing density means building up (I suppose it could mean building down, but people like windows that look out into the world for some reason), and building up is expensive! So not only does the land value keep going up, the cost of building in density also increases with every floor above ground level. I am sure could provide context, but there has to be a point at which it starts getting more expensive to add another floor. I mean, a two story house costs more than a one story house, but the cost is nominally less than double (pure construction costs here). At some point, however, there has to be a break even point, where the next floor will cost as much as the previous, and the next after that will cost more.

      So for all this talk about affordable housing, one thing I never hear talked about is, just looking at pure construction costs, how tall can you go before the price per square foot just blows past anything remotely close to affordable?

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      • Heavily qualified by the fact that I don’t even know enough to sanity-check this, Architect Google says that the sweet spot for minimum price per square foot is in the 20- to 40-story range. That is, up to that point, adding a floor actually reduces the cost per square foot.

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      • @brandon-berg

        Very true.
        In most urban markets, the cost of building up stops penciling out somewhere in that range.

        Maybe!
        But the financial equation that greenlights a building has a lot of variables, everything from the fluctuating returns on alternative investments, market absorption, transportation access, and shopping adjacencies.

        I’m not seeing a lot of talk in the development world to the effect of “Were it not for this one weird restriction, I would have built a lot more!”

        Its more like, we could build a lot more if technological factors A, B, and C were increased, and economic factors X, Y, and Z were improved, and political factors 1, 2 and 3 were resolved.

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          • Like for example, if you selected cheap land on the outskirts of town, then built a 20 story highrise with affordable rents.

            You don’t see a lot of that because the market absorption is low- not that many renters want to live out there, which is why it is the “outskirts” in the first place.

            What you would really be doing is constructing a mini-“edge city”, a dense development that has a tangential relationship with a larger urban core.
            Instead of absorbing the existing demand in that area, you would be gambling on singlehandedly increasing the demand, enticing people to move there.

            Ironically, that was the plot device in Tom Wolfe’s novel “A Man In Full”, where a greedy developer gambled on building a very tall building way out of the city on cheap land.
            And lost the bet, and the building.

            It has worked before, in tandem with improvements in transportation- extending a rail line for example, or freeway link. Or a period of cheap money where the risk is low, or a policy of direct subsidy or something.

            Which just gets back to the point that any solution will be a large scale multi-pronged effort requiring a lot of stakeholders to buy in.

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            • It has worked before, in tandem with improvements in transportation- extending a rail line for example, or freeway link. Or a period of cheap money where the risk is low, or a policy of direct subsidy or something.

              This is what seems to me to be what is happening in Denver and its inner-ring suburbs. Closer in to downtown there are a lot of 15-to-35 story apartment towers going in. None of them are even pretending to be affordable housing — stainless-steel appliances, quartz counters, the first couple of stories given over to amenities like the health club, the pool, lounges, on-site kitchen for catering, etc. Closer to affordable stuff is being built farther out, much of it infill along the light rail system. While there are gentrifying neighborhoods, much of it is residential replacing old marginal businesses. Eg, a single-story electric motor parts and repair place on a sizeable piece of what was cheap land 50 years ago can’t resist selling out to someone who’s going to build townhouses or condos.

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            • Right, and building closer in, on more expensive land, changes the economics such that affordable goes out the window without significant subsidies.

              And those subsidies typically have strings attached, which raises the costs of the project, and round and round we go…

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