Growth Is Not Always the Answer

By David Lyon : shelterforce – excerpt

Why is it always assumed that a city’s rate of growth is natural, or unavoidable, or simply that more growth is always better?

Officials in cities that are experiencing rapid growth are becoming more and more concerned about skyrocketing housing prices that often accompany such growth. It’s more important than ever that we talk about what causes prices to rise so quickly, and possible solutions to address the effects of such increases…

Upzoning Won’t Create Affordable Housing

Austin does have a significant supply/demand gap. But there are logistical constraints on building that city demographer Ryan Robinson finds more important than zoning restrictions. In a report, Robinson says, “… even if the code were to be dramatically opened up with vast increases in entitlements, I’m just not sure we would see levels of production much above what we’re currently seeing–the pipeline of production must be nearing a maximum threshold of sorts.”…(more)

Yes, there are physical limitations to what the pipeline can accommodate. There are limits to how many competent construction engineers, architects, construction workers and building materials not to mention funds available to build more buildings. And, there are limitations to how much resources can be delivered to those buildings. Water, power, and other infrastructure developments need to be in a place, not just entitlements.

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