ruminations about architecture and design

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

the journey of new york

Some conservatives like to make the argument that New York City could solve its housing shortage if rent controls were lifted. This is naive thinking--Boston abandoned rent controls some time ago and we still have a regional housing shortage. These shortages stem from multiple problems; permitting bureaucracy, stupid zoning, financing inertia, and increasing inequality.

Another issue is nostalgia. The people in a city like Hong Kong have embraced verticality and density to a degree that is inconceivable for most Americans. Jane Jacobs spoke fondly of the necessity of old buildings, but she regarded them as a transitional necessity in the march towards urbanization. Historicists and embedded residents grow accustomed to a density standard and seek to preserve it even when the quality of the building stock is terrible.

New York has stopped reinventing itself.

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