Sunday, April 08, 2012

Wendell Cox: California Declares War on Suburbia -

Wendell Cox: California Declares War on Suburbia -
Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link to a planner who opposes the current plans for higher density housing, which would of course lead to lots of condo and townhouse construction and hardly anything that isn't in a CID.  He says:

"To understand how dramatic a change this would be, consider that if the planners have their way, 68% of new housing in Southern California by 2035 would be condos and apartment complexes. This contrasts with Census Bureau data showing that single-family, detached homes represented more than 80% of the increase in the region's housing stock between 2000 and 2010."

Here is how he identifies himself:  "Mr. Cox, a transportation consultant, served three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission under the late Mayor Tom Bradley."  That seems to suggest that he is a Democrat, like Bradley. But if you check out his wikipedia page, you see this:  "He has authored studies for conservative think tanks such as the Cato Institute, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation,[1] and the Reason Foundation,[2] and for industry groups such as the American Highway Users Alliance, a lobbying and advocacy group for automobile-based industries."

I think that gives a little clearer picture of where he is coming from. 


Fred Pilot said...

It's the age old dichotomy between planners who prefer dense, transit accessible urban housing and consumer preference for surburban homes on roomy lots.

It's time for a third way: living in smaller communities outside of large metro areas and utilizing the advances in information and communications technology over the past two decades. These advances are rendering centralized work in costly office buildings requiring daily commutes obsolete.

Evan McKenzie said...

Except that in this case the conflict is between planners who prefer urban density and corporations that are making billions from the existing system: sprawl. Cox works for the think tanks these corporations have set up to advance their economic interests.

Anonymous said...

You know, I read the article and just don't see it that way. Self-proclaimed "planners" might like urban density but that does not mean that the vast majority of the population prefers them.

Here again we see local government intruding to control the market by eliminating choice. Clearly the vast majority of homeowners do NOT want condos.

Not everyone wants to live like rats in a tower. From my own experiences, I've seen lots of first time buyers get a condo only to learn a lesson and try to get out of the condo. I've seen older people buy condos with the expectation that they won't have to worry about anything - another typical industry myth. The old folks typically got tired of dealing with all the negatives of condos - not the least of which were the never ending assessments and the never ending increase in assessments and the lack of transparency which facilitated criminal conduct by management companies and attorneys (embezzlement, theft, insurance fraud).

Who stands to make "billions" from stacking humans like chattel in high-density places? Developers? Not any more than what they can do in subdivisions today. Local governments? Of course, and mainly cities. One square foot of horizontal downtown space can be taxed over and over again because of the vertical build. How is that good for the owners? Of course there are the trade groups that have been preying upon condo owners for years who would support any kind of involuntary membership corporation.

Finally, I don't understand the use of the word "sprawl". Obviously it is intended to be used in a negative context. However, I don't see the whole country piled up today in some condo village near Plymouth Rock. There is nothing wrong with living outside of a city or living and working outside of a city. Frequently as often as one tries to avoid a city, the city might likely try to annex you for taxes without providing any services. Isn't that really what's driving the "anti-sprawl" argument and the push for condos? - a desire for tax dollars while providing no services?