H. Pike Oliver compiles this weekly update of real estate and community development news. This week, the focus is on housing–the good news and the bad news. Please note that some links may lead to items behind a paywall.
In less than a year, the Sheriff’s Office in Hillsborough County, FL, said, the ring hit four Home Depots repeatedly, walking away with merchandise worth $2.4 million. And across the USA retailers are facing a rising rate of theft from organized crime rings. The opioid crisis is estimated to have cost the U.S. economy $631 billion from 2015 to 2018, according to the Society of Actuaries.
Below is a chart of housing types in the 40 largest cities in the USA, by population and ordered by their devotion to the detached single-family home (these are cities, not metro areas). Single-family homes make up a minority of housing options in only 15 of these 40 cities:
In this fast-paced year leading up to the Presidential Election of 2020, reducing housing insecurity and homelessness is gaining surprising traction. With homelessness rates rising in major cities, it seems this decades-long crisis has no end in sight. We respectfully disagree. The authors of these essays—all nationally known experts on the topic—demonstrate how such an end could be achieved.
According to a recent NAHB study, although use of some factory-produced components like trusses has become widespread, the newer and more innovative types of construction technology, such as 3D printing and robots, have so far penetrated the residential market only to a very limited extent. This is true for both single-family builders and residential remodelers.
Summarizing a movement that looks to bring free-market policy ideas into cities. Market Urbanism is the cross between free-market policy and urban issues. On one hand, it’s a theoretical inquiry into how cities would work if they grew organically on consumer demand, rather than being planned and zoned by the government. On the other, it’s a set of market-based policies that are not theoretical, but can actually be applied in our current political context.
Municipalities are blocking or raising the cost of things young parents need, like day-care centers and larger houses or apartments. Such efforts hint at a broader relationship between city planning and the cost of raising children. A growing body of research indicates that restrictive zoning—which often blocks the services and housing that families need—may help to explain why family sizes are shrinking in the United States.
Alex Anderson, University of Washington associate professor of architecture, published an essay in Harvard Design News discussing a class there called “Recasting the Outcasts.” The “outcasts” in question were buildings in the “Brutalist” architectural style, which grew in the 1950s from the modernist movement. Originally, the architects of Brutalism wanted to develop a modernist idea of “truth” in building. This meant less hiding of services (plumbing, ductwork, wires) and an active attempt to reveal how buildings get built.