Granny Flats and the Great Affordability Debate | Sightline Institute
Does adding more new homes to a prospering city help or hurt affordability? Few housing policy debates are as tangled or enduring.

Across a city or region, the best available studies show us that when there’s a shortage, building more pulls down on prices and rents, helping more people afford to stay in their homes.

a booming, housing-short city such as Seattle will never dig its way out of the affordability hole without consensus on the core principle that building new market-rate homes is a necessary part of the solution. Necessary but not sufficient, for sure, because the market cannot deliver homes inexpensive enough for people low on the economic ladder—they need support; they need subsidies. But absolutely necessary for those community supports and subsidies to succeed.

Adding new homes anywhere and everywhere on the price spectrum helps affordability: it’s a reality that Seattle’s ADU EIS can help cement, and that any city struggling with affordability must embrace.
affordability  housing  ADUs  seattle 
1 hour ago
Manchester Township Board one step closer to bringing broadband | The Manchester Mirror
On Tuesday, January 10th 2018, the Manchester Township Board voted unanimously to seek bids from companies who would perform a feasibility study regarding delivering broadband internet to the entire township and village. A feasibility study will establish how much it will cost to build a broadband network, how much the network will cost to run, who can do the work, the different ways it can be paid for, and other details that are essential if the township will make plans on this topic. Township Trustee Lisa Moutinho will head up the effort to seek bids. Ryan Klobucar, a township resident who has led the effort to bring broadband to the rural areas of Manchester Township, will lend his advice to Moutinho as she seeks the bids.

At the next meeting on February 14th, the board will review the bids collected, and potentially choose a company to perform the study, or choose not to pursue a study at this time.

The board noted in its decision that the Broadband survey disseminated to residents over the summer showed that there was overwhelming support for a community built and supported broadband network in the township and the village. The township hall was also full of residents seeking to speak on the topic. All residents who spoke about broadband spoke in favor. No dissenting voices were raised.

People noted that their children were required by the school to use the internet to complete their homework, and without a reliable internet connection that was sometimes impossible. Other residents spoke about how they live in housing developments that are almost completely vacant because, when new buyers learn that there is no broadband available, they choose to buy a home elsewhere.
internet  isp  michigan  washtenaw 
7 hours ago
Is This The Help For Rural Internet Dexter Has Been Waiting For? – We Love Dexter
I checked in with Dexter Township Trustee Mike Compton to see if he thinks the repeal of Net Neutrality will help pave the way to getting better internet service in rural areas.
net_neutrality  michigan  internet  washtenaw 
7 hours ago
Section 3.1 Housing and Socioeconomics presents an analysis comparing housing development with demographic and socioeconomic changes at a neighborhood (Census tract) scale between roughly 2000 and 2015. This appendix presents the technical data and maps underlying this analysis. This includes a series of statistical correlations to measure the strength and direction of relationships between housing development and other variables of interest. More details about the analysis methodology is presented in Section 3.1 Housing and Socioeconomics.

For each comparison, the results appear first as a map of new housing units overlaying household or population change by census tract. Every dot on these maps represents 20 housing units; their density reflects housing production in each census tract, but their location within the tract is random. On the following page, the results appear as a scatterplot comparing housing development on the horizontal axis and changes in households or population on the vertical axis. Each dot on the scatterplot is a census tract, positioned according to housing development and changes in households or population in that census for the given period. The large scatterplot presents all Seattle census tracts, followed by four smaller scatterplots that categorize census tracts according to their relative level of displacement risk and access to opportunity, as measured in the Seattle 2035 Growth and Equity Analysis (Appendix A). A map illustrating this categorization is included in Exhibit M–1.
housing  seattle  urban_development  urbanplanning  affordability  filetype:pdf  socioeconomics  diversity 
What actually is a good city? — Universal-Sci
We start with the idea that there should be basic principles that relate to the following basic domains of social life:

Ecology – cities should have a deep and integrated relationship with nature.

Economics – cities should be based on an economy organised around the social needs of all citizens.

Politics – cities should have an enhanced emphasis on engaged and negotiated civic involvement.

Culture – cities should actively develop ongoing processes for dealing with the uncomfortable intersections of identity and difference.

These have become the top-level principles for going deeper and deeper, elaborated across more and more specific subdomains of practice.

And here is the completely novel dimension. These principles have been and will be debated by people. None of these principles are fixed, hidden, confusing, or commercial-in-confidence. They are the outcome of open dialogue.
urbanplanning  urbanism  cities  sustainability  environmentalism  livability 
3 days ago
The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco
We exploit quasi-experimental variation in assignment of rent control to study its impacts on tenants, landlords, and the overall rental market. Leveraging new data tracking individuals’ migration, we find rent control increased renters’ probabilities of staying at their addresses by nearly 20%. Landlords treated by rent control reduced rental housing supply by 15%, causing a 5.1% city-wide rent increase. Using a dynamic, neighborhood choice model, we find rent control offered large benefits to covered tenants. Welfare losses from decreased housing supply could be mitigated if insurance against rent increases were provided as government social insurance, instead of a regulated landlord mandate.


In this paper, we study the welfare impacts of rent control on its tenant beneficiaries as well as the welfare impacts of landlords’ responses. To answer this question, we exploit a unique rent control expansion in San Francisco in 1994 that suddenly provided rent control protections for small multifamily housing built prior to 1980. By combining new panel micro data on individual migration decisions with detailed assessor data on individual SF parcels we get quasi-experimental variation in the assignment of rent control at both the individual tenant level and at the parcel level.

We find that, on average, in the medium to long term the beneficiaries of rent control are between 10 and 20% more likely to remain at their 1994 address relative to the control group. These effects are significantly stronger among older households and among households that have already spent a number of years at their current address. On the other hand, individuals in areas with quickly rising rents and with few years at their 1994 address are less likely to remain at their current address, consistent with the idea that landlords try to remove tenants when the reward is high, through either eviction or negotiated payments.

We find that landlords actively respond to the imposition of rent control by converting their properties to condos and TICs or by redeveloping the building in such as a way as to exempt it from the regulations. In sum, we find that impacted landlords reduced the supply the available rental housing by 15%. Consistent with this evidence, we find that there was a 20% decline in the number of renters living in impacted buildings, relative to 1990-1994 levels, and a 30% decline in the number of renters living in units protected by rent control.

We develop a dynamic, structural model of neighborhood choice to translate our reduced form impacts into welfare impacts. A key contribution of the paper is to show how quasi-experimental evidence can be leveraged to estimate a dynamic discrete choice model. We find that rent control offered large benefits to impacted tenants during the 1995-2012 period, averaging between $2300 and $6600 per person each year, with aggregate benefits totaling over $214 million annually. Over the entire period, tenants received a discounted value of around $2.9 billion. We find that most of these benefits came from protection against rent increases and transfer payments from landlords. However, we find losses to all renters of $2.9 billion due to rent control’s effect on decreasing the rental housing and raising market rents. Further, 42% of these losses are born by future residents of San Francisco, making them worse off, while incumbent residents benefit on net.

These results highlight that forcing landlords to provided insurance against rent increases leads to large losses to tenants. If society desires to provide social insurance against rent increases, it would less distortionary to offer this subsidy in the form of a government subsidy or tax credit. This would remove landlords’ incentives to decrease the housing supply and could provide household with the insurance they desire. A point of future research would be to design an optimal social insurance program to insure renters against large rent increases.
housing  rent  rent_control  affordability  san_francisco  filetype:pdf 
8 days ago
Retpoline: a software construct for preventing branch-target-injection - Google Help
“Retpoline” sequences are a software construct which allow indirect branches to be isolated from speculative execution.  This may be applied to protect sensitive binaries (such as operating system or hypervisor implementations) from branch target injection attacks against their indirect branches.  

The name “retpoline” is a portmanteau of “return” and “trampoline.”  It is a trampoline construct constructed using return operations which also figuratively ensures that any associated speculative execution will “bounce” endlessly.  
retpoline  llvm  spectre  security  cpu  speculative_execution  compiler 
9 days ago
Notes from the Intelpocalypse [LWN.net]
Rumors of an undisclosed CPU security issue have been circulating since before LWN first covered the kernel page-table isolation patch set in November 2017. Now, finally, the information is out — and the problem is even worse than had been expected. Read on for a summary of these issues and what has to be done to respond to them in the kernel.

All three disclosed vulnerabilities take advantage of the CPU's speculative execution mechanism. In a simple view, a CPU is a deterministic machine executing a set of instructions in sequence in a predictable manner. Real-world CPUs are more complex, and that complexity has opened the door to some unpleasant attacks.
security  cpu  speculative_execution  meltdown  spectre  virtual_memory  timing  sidechannels  outoforder_execution  linux 
9 days ago
KASLR is Dead: Long Live KASLR
Modern operating system kernels employ address space lay- out randomization (ASLR) to prevent control-flow hijacking attacks and code-injection attacks. While kernel security relies fundamentally on pre- venting access to address information, recent attacks have shown that the hardware directly leaks this information. Strictly splitting kernel space and user space has recently been proposed as a theoretical concept to close these side channels. However, this is not trivially possible due to architectural restrictions of the x86 platform.

In this paper we present KAISER, a system that overcomes limitations of x86 and provides practical kernel address isolation. We implemented our proof-of-concept on top of the Linux kernel, closing all hardware side channels on kernel address information. KAISER enforces a strict kernel and user space isolation such that the hardware does not hold any information about kernel addresses while running in user mode. We show that KAISER protects against double page fault attacks, prefetch side-channel attacks, and TSX-based side-channel attacks. Finally, we demonstrate that KAISER has a runtime overhead of only 0.28%.
meltdown  aslr  kaslr  virtual_memory  security  filetype:pdf 
9 days ago
The security of computer systems fundamentally relies on memory isolation, e.g., kernel address ranges are marked as non-accessible and are protected from user access. In this paper, we present Meltdown. Meltdown exploits side effects of out-of-order execution on mod- ern processors to read arbitrary kernel-memory locations including personal data and passwords. Out-of-order execution is an indispensable performance feature and present in a wide range of modern processors. The attack is independent of the operating system, and it does not rely on any software vulnerabilities. Meltdown breaks all security assumptions given by address space isola- tion as well as paravirtualized environments and, thus, every security mechanism building upon this foundation. On affected systems, Meltdown enables an adversary to read memory of other processes or virtual machines in the cloud without any permissions or privileges, affect- ing millions of customers and virtually every user of a personal computer. We show that the KAISER defense mechanism for KASLR [8] has the important (but inad- vertent) side effect of impeding Meltdown. We stress that KAISER must be deployed immediately to prevent large-scale exploitation of this severe information leak- age.
security  cpu  speculative_execution  outoforder_execution  virtual_memory  timing  sidechannels  filetype:pdf  meltdown 
9 days ago
Spectre Attacks: Exploiting Speculative Execution
Modern processors use branch prediction and specula- tive execution to maximize performance. For example, if the destination of a branch depends on a memory value that is in the process of being read, CPUs will try guess the destination and attempt to execute ahead. When the memory value finally arrives, the CPU either discards or commits the speculative computation. Speculative logic is unfaithful in how it executes, can access to the victim’s memory and registers, and can perform operations with measurable side effects.

Spectre attacks involve inducing a victim to specula- tively perform operations that would not occur during correct program execution and which leak the victim’s confidential information via a side channel to the adver- sary. This paper describes practical attacks that combine methodology from side channel attacks, fault attacks, and return-oriented programming that can read arbitrary memory from the victim’s process. More broadly, the paper shows that speculative execution implementations violate the security assumptions underpinning numerous software security mechanisms, including operating sys- tem process separation, static analysis, containerization, just-in-time (JIT) compilation, and countermeasures to cache timing/side-channel attacks. These attacks repre- sent a serious threat to actual systems, since vulnerable speculative execution capabilities are found in micropro- cessors from Intel, AMD, and ARM that are used in bil- lions of devices.

While makeshift processor-specific countermeasures are possible in some cases, sound solutions will require fixes to processor designs as well as updates to instruc- tion set architectures (ISAs) to give hardware architects and software developers a common understanding as to what computation state CPU implementations are (and are not) permitted to leak.
security  cpu  speculative_execution  virtual_memory  timing  sidechannels  filetype:pdf  spectre 
9 days ago
Project Zero: Reading privileged memory with a side-channel
We have discovered that CPU data cache timing can be abused to efficiently leak information out of mis-speculated execution, leading to (at worst) arbitrary virtual memory read vulnerabilities across local security boundaries in various contexts.
security  cpu  speculative_execution  meltdown  spectre  virtual_memory  timing  sidechannels  outoforder_execution 
9 days ago
P of EAA: Class Table Inheritance
Represents an inheritance hierarchy of classes with one table for each class.
sql  designpatterns 
11 days ago
P of EAA: Concrete Table Inheritance
Represents an inheritance hierarchy of classes with one table per concrete class in the hierarchy.
sql  designpatterns 
11 days ago
P of EAA: Single Table Inheritance
Represents an inheritance hierarchy of classes as a single table that has columns for all the fields of the various classes.
sql  designpatterns 
11 days ago
PyCQA/pycodestyle: Simple Python style checker in one Python file
pycodestyle is a tool to check your Python code against some of the style conventions in PEP 8.
python  style  tool  is:repo 
11 days ago
mypy - Optional Static Typing for Python
Mypy is an experimental optional static type checker for Python that aims to combine the benefits of dynamic (or "duck") typing and static typing. Mypy combines the expressive power and convenience of Python with a powerful type system and compile-time type checking. Mypy type checks standard Python programs; run them using any Python VM with basically no runtime overhead.
python  types  static_typing  tool 
11 days ago
Flexible and Economical UTF-8 Decoder
Systems with elaborate Unicode support usually confront programmers with a multitude of different functions and macros to process UTF-8 encoded strings, often with different ideas on handling buffer boundaries, state between calls, error conditions, and performance characteristics, making them difficult to use correctly and efficiently. Implementations also tend to be very long and complicated; one popular library has over 500 lines of code just for one version of the decoder. This page presents one that is very easy to use correctly, short, small, fast, and free.
lang:c  utf8  unicode  algorithms  decoder 
11 days ago
A Branchless UTF-8 Decoder « null program
This week I took a crack at writing a branchless UTF-8 decoder: a function that decodes a single UTF-8 code point from a byte stream without any if statements, loops, short-circuit operators, or other sorts of conditional jumps. …

Why branchless? Because high performance CPUs are pipelined. That is, a single instruction is executed over a series of stages, and many instructions are executed in overlapping time intervals, each at a different stage.
utf8  unicode  algorithms  branch_prediction  cpu_architecture  decoder 
11 days ago
Hashids - generate short unique ids from integers
Hashids is a small open-source library that generates short, unique, non-sequential ids from numbers.

It converts numbers like 347 into strings like “yr8”, or array of numbers like [27, 986] into “3kTMd”.

You can also decode those ids back. This is useful in bundling several parameters into one or simply using them as short UIDs.
ids  database  hash  keys 
13 days ago
Introduction to RAW-sockets
This document is intended to give an introduction into the programming with RAW-sockets and the related PACKET-sockets. RAW-sockets are an additional type of Internet socket available in addition to the well known DATAGRAM- and STREAM-sockets. They do allow the user to see and manipulate the information used for transmitting the data instead of hiding these details, like it is the case with the usually used STREAM- or DATAGRAM sockets. To give the reader an introduction into the subject we will first give an overview about the different APIs provided by Windows, Linux and Unix (FreeBSD, Mac OS X) and additional libraries that can be used OS-independent. In the next section we show general problems that have to be addressed by the programmer when working with RAW-sockets. We will then provide an introduction into the steps necessary to use the APIs or libraries, which functionality the different concepts provide to the programmer and what they provide to simplify using RAW and PACKET-sockets. This section includes examples of how to use the different functions provided by the APIs. Finally in the additional material we will give some complete examples that show the concepts and can be used as a basis to write own programs. The examples are programmed in C++ and we assume that the reader has basic programming skills and networking knowledge to be able to understand the listings and content of this document.
filetype:pdf  sockets  networking 
14 days ago
What Sneckdowns Say About Safe Street Design - CityLab
“It’s like nature blanketing the city with curb extensions overnight.”
cities  traffic  street_design  urbanplanning  safety 
15 days ago
Proposal: SE-0192 - Non-Exhaustive Enums
swift-evolution/0192-non-exhaustive-enums.md at master · apple/swift-evolution
swiftlang  enum 
16 days ago
Enviros and Developers: A Love Story | Grist
Even though this project complied with all local zoning codes, city officials had scheduled some 50 meetings to solicit community feedback, Wiener said. It seemed like a system designed to stop developers from building housing. This, he thought, had to be bad for the environment.

Environmentalists are usually thought of as folks who are trying to stop something: a destructive dam, an oil export terminal, a risky pipeline. But when it comes to housing, new-school environmentalists — like Wiener — understand that it’s necessary to support things, too. To meet California’s ambitious goals to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, regulators say the state must build dense, walkable neighborhoods that allow people to ditch their cars.

“When environmentalists only support housing that offers below-market rents, they’re essentially opposing all private development.”
housing  walkability  affordability  transit  urban_development  environment  environmentalism  yimby 
16 days ago
mrb: What is a Type System for?
And now, on to that question - what is a type system for? Pierce states it nicely, in the context of the first simple type system discussed in TAPL:

“The most basic property of this type system or any other is safety (also called soundness): well-typed terms do not ‘go wrong.’”

That sounds great! I certainly don’t like it when my programs go wrong, and believe me, it happens quite often. But now that I think about it, what exactly does ‘go wrong’ mean in this context?

“…it means reaching a ‘stuck state’ that is not designated as a final value but where the evaluation rules do not tell us what to do next.”

Earlier in the book, Pierce discusses stuck states in a bit more detail, and equates them with runtime errors. This was a very deep connection for me. Stuck states are terms that are, according to the operational semantics of a given system, meaningless. Powerful stuff. Pierce continues:

“What we want to know, then, is that well-typed terms do not get stuck. We show this in two steps, commonly known as the progress and preservation theorems.”
While many professional programmers have opinions about dynamic vs. static programming languages or the need for expressive type systems, I don’t often see the central point of types being discussed. The idea that the purpose of a type system is to prevent undesirable application states eluded me for some time, and I believe this is the case for many other people as well.
types  type_systems  state  state_machine 
16 days ago
What is Stopping Poor People From Moving? - The Atlantic
“But over the past 30 years, that regional income convergence has slowed. Economists say that is happening because net migration—the tendency of large numbers of people to move to a specific place—is waning, meaning that the supply of workers isn’t increasing fast enough in the rich areas to bring wages down, and isn’t falling fast enough in the poor areas to bring wages up. Why is this? Why have people stopped moving? The reason, economists believe, is that while there are good wages in economically vibrant cities like New York and San Francisco, housing prices are so high that they outweigh any gains people stand to make in earnings. As a result, high-income cities are still appealing to many workers, but only highly skilled workers who can command salaries high enough to make it worthwhile to move. Low-income workers will end up spending much of their incomes on housing if they move, and so stay put.”
housing  affordability  migration  urban_development  zoning 
16 days ago
Square Signals : Successful habits through smoothly ratcheting targets
Adopting new habits is hard! What a shame: New Year’s resolutions could represent such a bright spark of optimism. Instead, they’re a clichéd punchline on the futility of human will. Certainly, my own past attempts have deserved those jokes!

But in 2017, I shifted strategies and successfully built four new habits (of five attempted): piano practice, internetless mornings, carbless workdays, and meditation. In past years I’d feel lucky if I built just one new habit! I’d like to share my approach: smoothly ratcheted targets, in moving weekly windows, with teeth.
17 days ago
Demystifying Userspace Packet IO Frameworks
Packet forwarding applications such as virtual switches or routers moved from the kernel to userspace processes in the last years facilitated by frameworks like DPDK or netmap. These frameworks are often regarded as black-boxes by de- velopers due to their perceived inherent complexity. We present ixy, a userspace packet IO framework designed for simplicity and educational purposes to show that fast packet IO in the userspace is not black magic. Ixy avoids external dependencies, unnecessary abstractions, and kernel compo- nents completely, allowing the user to understand the whole stack from application logic down to the driver. A packet forwarder built on ixy is only about 1000 lines of code in- cluding the whole driver that runs in the same process. Our code is available as free and open source under the BSD license at https://github.com/emmericp/ixy.
filetype:pdf  networking  packet_io  userspace  linux  nic 
17 days ago
Cabel Sasser on Twitter: "Pro MacBook Pro Tip: have a Touch Bar with Touch ID? If you edit /etc/pam.d/sudo and add the following line to the top… auth sufficient pam_tid.so …you can now use your fingerprint to sudo!"
Pro MacBook Pro Tip: have a Touch Bar with Touch ID? If you edit /etc/pam.d/sudo and add the following line to the top…

auth sufficient pam_tid.so

…you can now use your fingerprint to sudo!
sudo  touch_id  macbook  osx  is:tweet 
5 weeks ago
Reforming land use regulations
Arguably, land use controls have a more widespread impact on the lives of ordinary Americans than any other regulation. These controls, typically imposed by localities, make housing more expensive and restrict the growth of America’s most successful metropolitan areas. These regulations have accreted over time with virtually no cost-benefit analysis. Restricting growth is often locally popular. Promoting affordability is hardly a financially attractive aim for someone who owns a home. Yet the maze of local land use controls imposes costs on outsiders, and on the American economy as a whole.

New York City enacted its pioneering zoning code in 1916. The Supreme Court only established the constitutionality of Euclidean zoning, which restricts neighborhoods to single uses, in 1926. Yet, these restrictions didn’t meaningfully prevent new building in much of America until the 1970s. Abundant new construction, not just in Texas but also in New York, Los Angeles and greater San Francisco, ensured that as late as 1970, prices remained close to the physical costs of construction in much of America.

Yet starting in the 1960s, a property rights revolution occurred in the U.S. Backed by environmentalist rhetoric in the suburbs and preservationist priorities in the cities, American localities increasingly restricted the rights of property owners to build. We changed from a country in which landowners had relatively unfettered freedom to add density to a country in which veto rights over new projects are shared by a dizzying array of abutters and stakeholders. Consequently, we now build far less in the most successful, best educated parts of the country, and housing prices in these areas are far higher than construction costs or prices elsewhere.

But most productive parts of America are unaffordable. The National Association of Realtors data shows median sales prices over $1,000,000 in the San Jose metropolitan area and over $500,000 in Los Angeles. One tenth of American homes in 2013 were valued at more than double Minimum Profitable Production Costs, and assuredly the share is much higher today. In 2005, at the height of the boom, almost 30 percent of American homes were valued at more than twice production costs. Our painful housing bust eliminated some of the affordability problem in our most expensive areas, but that problem has returned.

America’s affordability problem is local, not national, but that doesn’t mean that land use regulations don’t have national implications. Historically, when parts of America experienced outsized economic success, they built enormous amounts of housing. New housing allowed thousands of Americans to participate in the productivity of that locality. Between 1880 and 1910, bustling Chicago’s population grew by an average of 56,000 each year. Today, San Francisco is one of the great capitals of the information age, yet from 1980 to 2010, that city’s population grew by only 4200 people per year.

Land use controls that limit the growth of such successful cities mean that Americans increasingly live in places that make it easy to build, not in places with higher levels of productivity. Hsieh and Moretti (2015) have estimated that “lowering regulatory constraints” in areas like New York and Silicon Valley would “increase U.S. GDP by 9.5%.” Whether these exact figures are correct, they provide a basis for the claim that America’s most important, and potentially costly, regulations are land use controls.

The problem with empirical work any particular land use control is that there are so many ways to say no to new construction. Since the rules usually go together, it is almost impossible to identify the impact of any particular land use control. Moreover, eliminating one rule is unlikely to make much difference, since anti-growth communities would easily find ways to block construction in other ways.

Few localities seriously consider the negative impact that restricting buying will have on non-residents of their town. No locality considers the impact that their local rules may induce more building elsewhere.

Reforming local land use controls is one of those rare areas in which the libertarian and the progressive agree. The current system restricts the freedom of the property owner, and also makes life harder for poorer Americans. The politics of zoning reform may be hard, but our land use regulations are badly in need of rethinking.
zoning  urban_development  growth  economics  affordability  housing 
5 weeks ago
Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth
We study how growth of cities determines the growth of nations. Using a spatial equilibrium model and data on 220 US metropolitan areas from 1964 to 2009, we first estimate the contribution of each U.S. city to national GDP growth. We show that the contribution of a city to aggregate growth can differ significantly from what one might naively infer from the growth of the city’s GDP. Despite some of the strongest rate of local growth, New York, San Francisco and San Jose were only responsible for a small fraction of U.S. growth in this period. By contrast, almost half of aggregate US growth was driven by growth of cities in the South. We then provide a normative analysis of potential growth. We show that the dispersion of the conditional average nominal wage across US cities doubled, indicating that worker productivity is increasingly different across cities. We calculate that this increased wage dispersion lowered aggregate U.S. GDP by 13.5%. Most of the loss was likely caused by increased constraints to housing supply in high productivity cities like New York, San Francisco and San Jose. Lowering regulatory constraints in these cities to the level of the median city would expand their work force and increase U.S. GDP by 9.5%. We conclude that the aggregate gains in output and welfare from spatial reallocation of labor are likely to be substantial in the U.S., and that a major impediment to a more efficient spatial allocation of labor are housing supply constraints. These constraints limit the number of US workers who have access to the most productive of American cities. In general equilibrium, this lowers income and welfare of all US workers.
cities  urbanism  economics  growth  housing  zoning  urban_development  mobility 
5 weeks ago
Stuck! The Law and Economics of Residential Stability by David Schleicher :: SSRN
America has become a nation of homebodies. Rates of inter-state mobility, by most estimates, have been falling for decades. Even research that does not find a general decline finds that inter-state mobility rates are low among disadvantaged groups and are not increasing despite a growing connection between moving and economic opportunity. Perhaps more important than changes in overall mobility rates are declines in mobility in situations and places where it is particularly important. People are not leaving areas hit by economic crises, with unemployment rates and low wages lingering in these areas for decades. And people are not moving to rich regions where the highest wages are available.

This Article advances two central claims. First, declining inter-state mobility rates create problems for federal macroeconomic policy-making. Low rates of inter-state mobility make it harder for the Federal Reserve to meet both sides of its “dual mandate” of stable prices and maximum employment; impair the efficacy and affordability of federal safety net programs that rely on state and local participation; and reduce both levels of wealth and rates of growth by inhibiting agglomeration economies. While determining an optimal rate of inter-state mobility is difficult, policies that unnaturally inhibit inter-state moves worsen national economic problems.

Second, the Article argues that governments, mostly at the state and local levels, have created a huge number of legal barriers to inter-state mobility. Land-use laws and occupational licensing regimes limit entry into local and state labor markets; differing eligibility standards for public benefits, public employee pension policies, homeownership subsidies, state and local tax regimes, and even basic property law rules reduce exit from states and cities with less opportunity; and building codes, mobile home bans, federal location-based subsidies, legal constraints on knocking down houses and the problematic structure of Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy all limit the capacity of failing cities to “shrink” gracefully, directly reducing exit among some populations and increasing the economic and social costs of entry limits elsewhere.

Put together, the Article shows that big questions of macroeconomic policy and performance turn on the content of state and local policies usually analyzed using microeconomic tools. Many of the legal barriers to inter-state mobility emerged or became stricter during the period in which inter-state mobility declined. While assigning causality is difficult, public policies developed by state and local governments more interested in local population stability than in ensuring successful macroeconomic conditions either generated or did not push back against falling mobility rates. The Article concludes by suggesting ways the federal government could address falling mobility rates.
urbanplanning  zoning  economics  inequality  mobility  growth 
5 weeks ago
Barriers to Shared Growth: The Case of Land Use Regulation and Economic Rents
This is an interesting piece, but this graf about demographics particularly stood out to me:
The Urban Institute’s report on headship and homeownership (Goodman et al., 2015) highlighted several other demographic-driven areas of the housing market that are potentially impeded by the supply constraints that result from zoning. As the Baby Boomer generation ages into retirement, many more elderly Americans will require modifications to the homes they currently live in or may opt for shared occupancy with another family, often their own. Both of these practices would benefit from changes in zoning policies in some areas of the country so as to make home modification and shared occupancy feasible for a larger number of seniors. The report also notes that the size and demographic composition of the Millennial generation imply that demand for rental construction is likely to pick up in the coming decade and a half as well. As a result, certain housing markets may benefit from a relaxation of zoning restrictions so that such construction can be more rapidly increased to meet demand. Otherwise, implied demand increases accompanied by an inelastic supply would likely result in larger sized economic rents, manifesting as rapid price appreciation, worsening affordability, and downward pressure on household formation, particularly among the millennial generation.
zoning  urbanplanning  urbanism  rent  economics  inequality  housing  millennials  affordability  mobility  filetype:pdf  growth 
5 weeks ago
Housing costs: It's the zoning, stupid.
Still, there are two questions unanswered by this. One: With demand surging, why doesn't construction surge enough to keep vacancy rates roughly stable. The other: If builders are always aiming at that high end, why are they building in Columbia Heights rather than in the traditionally fancier and more expensive neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park.

The answers are "zoning" and "zoning."
zoning  urbanplanning  urban_development  housing  affordability 
7 weeks ago
Fires Aren’t the Only Threat to the California Dream - NYTimes.com
The destruction of an estimated 14,000 homes in the wine country north of San Francisco will worsen a severe housing shortage in a region where rents and housing values are already sky-high.

The shortage harms rural communities on the fringes of the Bay Area, but it is rooted in urban communities in the region’s core — San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto and Berkeley. It is exacerbated by well-meaning but misguided housing policies championed by urban liberals. The area has some of the most progressive voters and policymakers in the nation, yet it has also adopted some of the most regressive housing policies, with large costs for low-income renters and the environment.

The problem is largely self-inflicted: the region has some of the country’s slowest, most political and cumbersome housing approval processes and most stringent land-use restrictions.

Thanks to aggressive lobbying by an odd coalition of Nimby homeowners and progressives — radical county supervisors, tenants’ unions, environmental groups — in places like San Francisco and Oakland, it takes years (and sometimes even decades), harsh political battles and arduous appeals to get a market-rate housing project approved.
san_francisco  housing  rent  nimby  urban_development 
7 weeks ago
Street-Level Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation
EFF’s “Street-Level Surveillance” project shines light on the advanced surveillance technologies that law enforcement agencies routinely deploy in our communities. These resources are designed for members of the public, advocacy organizations, journalists, defense attorneys, and policymakers who often are not getting the straight story from police representatives or the vendors marketing this equipment.
eff  surveillance  america  police  alpr  stingray  drones 
7 weeks ago
Inside the ACLU’s nationwide campaign to curb police surveillance - The Verge
The drone discovery was one of the events that led California’s Santa Clara County to become, in June 2016, the first in the country to pass an ordinance requiring transparency for police surveillance technology based on a recent ACLU model. The law requires public input, an impact report, and a use policy with details about data sharing before equipment is purchased. (Seattle passed a similar law in 2013, also with ACLU involvement, but its scope was limited to video surveillance.)

Last fall, the ACLU announced a nationwide strategy in partnership with over a dozen other civil liberties groups to promote similar bills in cities across the country. Called Community Control Over Police Surveillance, or CCOPS, the ACLU says there are bills with sponsors in 19 cities nationwide and one public transit system, the Bay Area’s BART. Chad Marlow, who is overseeing the nationwide strategy for CCOPS at the ACLU, says that organizing is underway in an additional 46 cities and one state, though he doesn’t expect them all to find sponsors.
aclu  america  police  surveillance  drones 
7 weeks ago
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