Lincoln Institute in the News


Lincoln Institute in the News

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What it Would Take to Make Coastal Housing More Affordable Maya Srikrishnan | 19 hours ago P...

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Study: Taxes hinder Detroit comeback Christine MacDonald, The Detroit News12:34 p.m. EST November 10, 2015 (Photo: Detroit News file) ...

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Loeb 45 Journal: Equity Scorecards BY SARAH BOLIVAR / NOVEMBER 9, 2015 / FEATURES, INSIGHTS, LOEB FELLOWS, PROJECTS Sue and Jim Stockard Scorin...

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Some residents worry Seaport will lack neighborhood feel   DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF Construction of Seaport District housing, such as 1...

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Community Developments: Rent Increases Across Incomes, New Land-Use Study Posted By Allison Charette and NaShawn Johnson on Nov 9...

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My Turn: Arizona needs a Plan B for education Jim Holway, AZ I See It10:03 p.m. MST November 8, 2015 My Turn: How we manage state trust land...

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Place Matters, But Place Changes Posted by Miriam Axel-Lute on November 6, 2015     "Place matters, but place changes," Univ. ...

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Dos notas sobre la obligación de producir vivienda social en California Dos notas sobre la obligación de producir vivienda so...

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Loeb 45 Journal: Cities are finding high ground, getting democracy right BY CLAIR ENLOW / NOVEMBER 2, 2015 / FEATURES, ...

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02
Zoning and inequality Dartmouth economist William J. Fischel revisits a meaty subject in Zoning Rules! The Economics of Land Use Regulati...

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02

Mesmerizing Visualizations Document Pace of Urban Expansion

The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects
Mesmerizing Visualizations Document Pace of Urban Expansion 11/02/2015 by Jared Green “Urbanization stirs up all kinds of emot...

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01
‘Zoning Rules’ at Cato Events BY MATTHEW M. ROBARE NOVEMBER 1, 2015 CATO INSTITUTE DEVELOPMENT HOUSING MATT...

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Who Are Cities For?

The Aspen Idea Blog

Who Are Cities For?

(Photo Credit: istockphoto)

I grew up in Austin, Texas, so I’m familiar with the slogan “Keep Austin Weird.” It wasn’t until discussing the affordable housing challenges with Austin Mayor Steve Adler at CityLab2015 that I realized that the slogan embodies the paradox facing not just Austin, but so many fast-growing, attractive cities.

The innovation-driven economy demands density and diversity, and leads to concentrations of productivity in a handful of increasingly costly places. As The Atlantic Senior EditorRichard Florida observes, recent research on the drag on GDP that comes from high housing costs in our most innovative cities “reminds us of the enormous costs of trying to run the powerful, highly clustered new economy on the platform of our outmoded suburban, industrial model.” Here’s the paradox: We might inadvertently destroy the qualities that make cities so compelling and inventive if we don’t mitigate the increasing costs of housing and resulting homogenization of cities.

Austin’s city housing prices have risen 30 percent in the last five years. Preserving the city’s culture — fed by artists, musicians, bartenders, public interest lawyers, writers, cooks, professors, and perpetual students — probably requires changing the built environment, making it denser and more urbanized to increase housing supply and mitigate some of the affordability strains.

These challenges are not just limited to cities like Austin. Across the country, we are just at the beginning of demographic changes that create a shift in housing demand, towards denser housing and less expensive housing. This shift in demand doesn’t just play out in central cities, it also plays out in suburbs, which are undergoing massive demographic changes, often still reeling from the Great Recession, and don’t have the kind of dense urban form that supports innovation or transit. So how do we change our built environment to reflect where the country is going, rather than where it used to be?

It won’t be enough to unleash the market and build more units. City leaders need to ensure that any new development includes a portion of homes available at below-market rates. During the affordable housing discussion, George “Mac” McCarthy of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, showed the audience a tool that can ground everyone in the same set of facts. The Inclusionary Calculator, created by the Cornerstone Partnership, allows people to run the numbers on proposed new housing developments in various markets and factor in affordable housing. According to McCarthy, the tool reliably shows that in almost every case, developers can realize a decent profit (around 10 percent) even as they set aside a small portion of units for people who can’t afford market rents.

Showing that inclusion and profit are both possible is a great start (and there are other significant advantages to these kinds of inclusionary policies, according to a new Lincoln Institute report). We need more of these kinds of tools, these urban innovations, to reset our expectations about what’s possible in preservation, design, planning, and finance.

I recently heard someone say, “We’ve seen more disruption in the last three years in transportation – Lyft, Uber, bikeshare – than we have in the last 30.” It’s time to move into that three-years-of-disruption phase for the built environment, but with an unwavering focus on how to keep cities open and accessible to all the people who make them liveable, creative, compelling, and sometimes even weird. 

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OPINION 10/26/2015 @ 12:58PM 3,522 views Rahm Emanuel Trades Reform For The Largest Property-Tax Hike In Chicago's Modern History ...

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Corporate Welfare Fails Again

Commonwealth Foundation Blog
Corporate Welfare Fails Again OCTOBER 26, 2015 | by BOB DICK Two stories published in the past week offer perfect examples of questionable ...

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To the editor:In this election season, the single biggest issue facing the City Council candidates is that of development. While some growth is necess...

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  To the People of Boston of 2015: I’m just coming back from a press conference for another tech start-up in Somerville – maker...

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Portland adopts affordable housing requirement for new developments New housing developments in Portland with at least 10 residential units will ...

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Affordable Housing Is a Moral Choice (and the Numbers Prove It) A new tool shows that developers can profit by building affordable housing almost any...

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D.C. Considers $60 Million Tax Break for the Advisory Board Company Posted by Freddy Rodriguez on October 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm The Dist...

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