ruminations about architecture and design

Monday, August 25, 2014

paul krugman on housing

Isn't that just the cutest little house? It was built at great expense and is probably used infrequently.

In a recent editorial, Paul Krugman pointed out that much of the economic and population growth in sun belt states is the result of lower housing costs. The fact that these places have "conservative" governments is less important than the fact that large developers can build suburbs at a blistering pace. People are willing to work for less because their housing dollar goes further.

It's a proposition I agree with, and I'll toss out a speculation that the housing stock in warm, right wing places is also linked to the fact that states, aided by the federal gummint, are able to build road networks more efficiently than in places like metro Boston. I'm not sure how much this has been studied, but the big stretches of flat land that exist in Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Arizona make highway planning really easy. Subdivisions and box stores need transportation infrastructure that makes supply chains reliable, fast, and cheap. Here in Massachusetts it takes us 15 years to build a few miles of underground highway--with marginal improvement to rush hour commutes.

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