Author Archive

Urban Planning for People

The recent publication of the United States Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2014 Annual Energy Outlookprovides a good backdrop for examining the importance of current information in transportation and land-use planning. I have written about two recent cases in which urban plans were fatally flawed due to their reliance on outdated information. In one […]

High Speed Rail Decision: Rule of Law in California

California Judge Michael Kenny has barred state bond funding for the California high speed rail system, finding that “the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority failed to follow voter-approved requirements designed to prevent reckless spending on the $68 billion project.” These protections had been an important in securing voter approval of a $10 billion bond issue in […]

Urban Containment (Smart Growth): Consequences for the Economy

Recently published research by Brian N. Jansen and Edwin S. Mills represents notable addition to the already rich academic literature that associates more stringent land use regulation with higher house prices. The analysis is unusually comprehensive and its conclusions indicate greater consequences than is usually cited. Mills is Professor Emeritus of Real Estate and Finance […]

Consequences of Urban Containment Policy: Higher Relative Housing Costs for Low Income Households

Urban containment (smart growth or growth management) advocates have often express the hope that the house price increasing effects of stringent land use regulation would be neutralized by more affordable housing costs in the cores of metropolitan areas, where more dense housing would be permitted. A principal source of this view is an analysis of […]

Portland Speeds to Transit Train Wreck?

For more than a quarter century, the leaders in the Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area have sought to transfer demand for urban travel from automobiles to transit. Six rail lines have been built, five of which are light rail and bus service has been expanded. If their vision were legitimate, transit’s market share […]

Las Vegas High Speed Rail Federal Loan Application on Indefinite Suspension

The application for a federal taxpayer loan required to start construction on the proposed Victorville California to Las Vegas high-speed rail line has been suspended indefinitely, according to Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the U.S. House of Rep.’s budget committee and Sen. Jeff sessions, ranking member of the US Senate budget committee. In a July […]

Reprieve for the American Dream (and Metropolitan Economies)

Just at the moment that urban planning stands within reach of adopting plans to forbid urban expansion and place further barriers in the way of automobile use, much of the justification has slipped away. New projections by the US Department of Energy (DOE) indicate indicate that greenhouse gas emissions from cars are set to decline […]

Job Dispersion in US Metropolitan Areas

The continuing dispersion of employment in the nation’s major metropolitan areas has received attention in two recent reports. The Brookings Institution has publishedresearch showing that employment dispersion continued between 2000 and 2010, finding job growth was greater outside a three mile radius from central business districts between 2000 and 2010 in 100 metropolitan areas Note 1). […]

Sydney to Abandon Radical Smart Growth Policy

Australia’s New South Wales state government has proposed a new Metropolitan Strategy for the Sydney area which would significantly weaken its highly restrictive smart growth policy (also called urban containment, smart growth, livability, growth management, densification, etc.) that has driven if house prices to among the highest in the affluent New World (Australia, Canada, New […]

Smart Growth/Urban Containment Continue to Drive Unaffordable Housing in 7 Nations

We have just released the 9th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey covering 337 metropolitan markets in Australia, Canada, China (Hong Kong), Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. As usual, the most unaffordable markets are those in with urban containment policy (also called by other names, such as smart growth and […]