I'm happy to have played a very small part... our Republican state senator was one who voted in favor; maybe our calls and emails had a positive effect.
Hats off to the people in the legislature and some of the advocacy groups around Oregon like "1000 friends of Oregon" who worked really hard to get this through.
Anyway, it was pretty crazy and a real nail-biter.
Is showing up to work that day doing your job?
It's not a perfect analogy, but in my opinion it fits.
It was kind of a maddening sideshow: in normal times, he would have been reprimanded in some way, and she would have been made to feel safe, but they were in a crazy rush to finish.
Personally, I find it interesting that the focus here is on her feeling safe, and not actually being safe - because she already was.
It's not unreasonable to feel unsafe around these people; maybe the burden of safe and civil governance should fall on the people making death threats, not someone who could reasonably consider herself the target of such violence.
In Minneapolis I expect it will start to make a difference in 5 years. In Minneapolis a building permits for something allowed in code takes an hour from the time you park your car to the time you drive away, and no lawyer needed.
Note that we will never really know that a difference was made: there are any other factors involved in housing prices with no way to control for any of them. Thus no matter what happens you will be able to reasonably argue from data whichever side you want.
The dense building is already taking place, in every neighborhood in the city. Getting a permit is no problem; my little brother, an engineer with no background in building, got a permit to build a four-unit building on one of the sites where they were already allowed (before this law was passed) in 8 weeks; the normal time for any permit approval for construction, he says, and in his engineering work he did a lot of work with permitting for customer projects, too, so I'd guess he knows.
Portland's already been changing and it's made the city so much more pleasant to walk through. Neighborhood after neighborhood of single-family detached housing is boring, tiresome to drive or bike through, and an environmental disaster (as the ODOT study recently confirmed).
If the rest of Oregon can now follow suit, this is only a good thing.
The funny thing is, driving through old towns in Oregon or anywhere, where most of the building was done before these zoning laws made everything into the same boring city planning style, architecture and construction used to be a lot more interesting and visually pleasing. It's neat to drive through places with variety of structure. These laws are one of the most pointless things, that's done a great deal of damage, the US has done.
As for needing to build wider driveways, and that making it boring, I realize there's a certain kind of subjectivity here but I don't think that what we're going to end up with is literally "duplexes with double-wide driveways replacing single-family dwellings on the same-sized lots."
The front-runner for the 2020 mayoral race has an architectural background and has been talking about ideas like introducing an LA-style design review board to Portland, to ensure that new development has to pass aesthetic review in addition to environmental review. I guarantee you that six months after something like that were enacted, every architect in the city would know exactly what they needed to do to keep the city interesting as well as weird.
He said that one of the problems he sees with development in Portland now is that the developers are under no constraint to make their buildings visually interesting at all;
as an example he's cited, lots of the new apartment/condo buildings go up with a nearly uniform front structure for the entire length of a city block, when varying materials or architectural features would add little cost but make the structures more pleasant to walk by, drive by, etc., a facet of city living that is hard to pin down quantitatively but makes a subjective difference.
I haven't lived in Portland in a while so I can't speak first-hand to this alleged blandness of new construction but I do remember the last time I was there seeing a lot of new stuff that was essentially undecorated, and of course it's cheaper that way but compared to lots of the development that is designed with more variety, I know which I'd choose.
Maybe there's a middle ground, I don't know, I just know this is a situation where the market will converge on construction that probably isn't ideal for very-long-term city construction, but there isn't really an adequate feedback mechanism to force people to make prettier buildings. The city's under such housing pressure that people would live in unpainted cement blocks if someone built those. (Okay, I love brutalist architecture, especially some of the Soviet monstrosities, and I'd live in one in a heartbeat, but that's definitely me and even those had some style.) Seems like a place where a regulatory authority could do well, but maybe not a cookie-cutter of what LA has. It's just, these buildings are going to be around for a long time; now's the time to make them look good.
you point to one answer already: if the housing market were truly competitive, developers would have to compete on housing features beyond the basic box. that's why i'd generally advocate for a lighter touch on the regulatory side, because housing seems to be already overburdened to the point of making it unaffordable for most urbanites.
yes, let's make sure a house meets basic safety requirements, and that builders and engineers document how they meet them, but beyond that, allow people a little creative freedom and you'll get interestingness.
and i'm no fan of brutalism, but having some brutalist structures around serves to remind me how much i like other styles better. =)
I think the problem is that this already falls so far out of the realm of "let the market address it" because of the constraints on building and housing, especially in such a tightly-housed city as Portland; if builders build it wrong (and will make money regardless because of the constraints on this market that mean people can't reasonably take their dollar elsewhere), the city suffers in non-dollar-measurable ways for decades.
Again, this is mostly coming from my friend who likes the design review board, and sees that a lot of the new development in Portland is boring from an architectural point of view (and will remain so for at least the remainder of his life) but there's absolutely nothing in a market sense that would compel anyone to build more interesting buildings.
And, the more we talk about this, the more I like the idea of the design review board; I'm all in favor of sensible regulation, and your original complaint, that some styles are no longer permitted in LA, seems like even less of an issue if it means that new construction does remain aesthetically interesting.
An extremely small price to pay for putting pressure on architects to build interesting new things as these buildings go up all over down.
But, of course, it's all just talk and speculation, since neither of us is mayor (and at least one of us doesn't live there.)
If people want a beautiful place to live enough they will pay for it. Thus the concern means that you are wrong: people do not agree with your ideas of beauty (remember, this is competing concerns: they may like it, but not enough to pay for it)
In fact, for a lot of small-enough construction work, architects can follow a predefined set of specifications and mostly bypass the civil engineering process.
The architects are not the expendable part of construction in any way.
However duplexes start enable the next level.
Public transit needs a certain level of density to become useful, so longer term people can think about getting rid of a car.
Density also means that while there is more solid pavement on lots, there are less lots overall, and less roads between the lots, and less driving from place to place. So globally this is an environmental win even though locally it is worse.
Even without exclusionary zoning, neighborhoods change very slowly.
He worked his ass off - like a lot of people - to get this passed.
The only sustainable way to affordable housing is to make market rates affordable.
On the Media's "Scarlet E" series is an excellent exploration of this:
2.8% eviction rate is not a “crisis”. What percentage would be acceptable?
[L]andlords, they had a lot of ways to evict a family. I spent a time with a landlord that would pay you to move and help you move. That's a pretty good eviction, you know, if you've got to get evicted. I met a landlord that would just take your door off. Just imagine you don't have a front door you're living in, you know, anywhere in the country. We need front doors on our homes. That got me thinking, 'gosh, OK there's all these evictions that are processed through civil court, housing court or eviction court but there are all these evictions that no one sees.' They occur in the shadow of the law, informal evictions we call them. So I did a study in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and it's a big issue. For every formal eviction that goes to the court, at least in Milwaukee, there are two informal evictions that are executed....
...the Federal Reserve found that 44 percent of us couldn't cover a sudden 400 dollar expense without borrowing or selling something. And so if you don't have family or friends you can tap, anything unexpected–health issues, accidents, car trouble, reduced work hours–can trigger calamity cascades....
...HUD classifies families that spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent as 'rent burdened.' According to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, that applies to nearly half of all U.S. renters...
Further down, Gladstone and Desmond discuss the data issue (and problems in collecting it), official vs unofficial evictions, and the disparity between ever-rising rents and flat court proceedings. It doesn't add up.
https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/scarlet-e-part-one-why (click "transcript")
If you just took a bunch of Wall Street bankers, a bunch of CA VCs and then mapped their cell phone location data over the next several days (July 4 weekend) you'd get basically the same map.
Even from ESRI's map it's clear that affordability drops near cities: Chicago and its collar counties, Salt Lake-Provo in Utah, Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, latter mentioned in the OTM piece. Even cities such as Omaha are visible, and regions such as Appalachian North Carolina.
True, people may earn less in smaller areas but the cost of living is much lower.
There is plenty of land in the US. If prices are too high to afford to live there, residents will start moving and businesses move with them or vice versa. More businesses will start expanding to lower cost of living areas.
And they continue to build a disproportionate amount of square footage that is not housing, worsening the housing shortage in the area.
Finally, those smaller areas with very low CoL usually don't have many jobs or opportunities. There's a reason people are flocking to cities, and have been for well over a century.
I live in metro Atlanta - not exactly a small town with a lack of opportunity. You can buy a 2800 square foot house for less than $200K not to far out from the city center. But there are a lot of people who go years without ever going into the actual city of Atlanta and live and work in the burbs.
My wife and I just bought a house two years ago in the northern burbs - a brand new build, 3100 square feet, 5-3-1/2 with a large office and all of the trimmings for less than $350K - 5% down because that’s what the builder asked for.
A similar house the large west coast tech hubs would go for well over a $1.25 million.
As far as jobs, I’ve lived here for two decades and have never had a problem finding a software development job.
Despite what people on HN seem to think, the rest of the country is not some vast wasteland where people live in poverty.
I'm perfectly happy to let them keep thinking that.
- more people who live in rural areas are homeowners
- fewer live in poverty
So it seems like “city living” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Couldn't that be because the poor tend to end up in urban areas where they have more access to social services?
It's a better deal to earn $29,000 than $69,000 due to the loss of benefits. That means people don't strive for better. They avoid promotions.
The biggest issue for us when we were looking to buy a house in the area we wanted were you only had a few choices.
Buy an older cheaper smaller house from the relatively few people who were living in the city before the county started growing. But then you have an old house in an area where there is a rapid expansion of new homes. No one is going to buy a house that would be 40 years old if we did decide to sell in 10 years when they could buy a much newer home. 
Buy a smaller condo closer to shops and businesses. But those were more expensive with less space, with the risk of random assessments based on repairs that might come up and we would still lack the benefits of individual housing. Not to mention the higher HOA dues.
From the builders perspective, it doesn’t make sense to build, smaller slightly more affordable homes once you take all of the fixed costs into account. Our house was I believe the smallest floor plan available and we still had 3100 square feet - not bragging it was less than $350. Any halfway competent developer in Atlanta could afford it. This is a well known issue for why new affordable homes aren’t being built.
 Also in our case, we weren’t comfortable living in the older parts of the county. We live in a part of Atlanta that made national news as being a “sundown town” as recently as 35 years ago (it was on Oprah in the 80s). But with the influx of a younger demographic the character has changed a lot.
Some cities like SF have it bad but much of the country has a housing problem.
Go look up the theatrics that stifle housing in major California cities. If not stopped for historic reasons, the drop back to the old favorite the environment, or if need be the new favorite of mental health; as in shadows cast are bad.
Zoning and more is mostly the means that became the accepted means of segregation. when zoning for the sake of segregation got called out they simply diverted the attention by marketing it better; hence historical preservation, environmental protection, and more.
I tend to oppose this kind of state usurpation of local authority on principle, and believe that the correct way to resolve this issue is with proper land tax assessments, not outlawing single family home zoning. Still, it's better than no action--more housing does need to be built, and there are too many restrictions on building in cities already.
Removing the element of control prevents this from happening.
Allowing high-density residential construction near public transportation hubs creates more value than allowing urbam sprawl to grow indefinitely. The single most important reason why people are forced to waste their lives in long commutes is allowing residential neighborhoods to spring up in the middle of nowhere in places where their only way in and out of their homes is through a long congestioned road served by no public transportation service.
Oregon law prescribes urban growth boundaries, so there's already a mechanism to counter sprawl. HB 2001 is in no way a "build more sprawl" bill.
The bill also allocates funds to local governments in order to help them understand how their infrastructure needs may change under the bill.
"Appropriates moneys to Department of Land Conservation and Development to provide technical
assistance to local governments in implementing middle housing regulations and to plan improvement of urban services supporting middle housing."
Problem is that our zoning is about detached single family homes.
When we bought our current home (2015) it was zoned R2.5 (residential, min. 2500sqft lot). We are now zoned as R2.
All that means is shrinking the required lot size for a single family home.
This bill changes a lot of that.
Also, Oregon (esp. Multnomah county) is kinda different.
Relatedly, fellow Seattleites: the primary for city council races is in August, and ballots go out in just under three weeks. Make sure your voter registration information is up to date! https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/
They're also very close to approving a pretty major city-wide upzone , though it largely just makes mutli-family zoning denser and doesn't affect SFH zones much.
(* No affiliation with Curbed, they were just the first articles to pop up on my search that weren't paywalled).
-Adam Smith, “The Wealth Of Nations”
These are just dumb city planning decisions: Hey, I'm going to permit an increasing number of offices in this downtown and not allow denser housing. Drive until you qualify, millennials.
> As housing prices and commute times go up so does the price of everything that involves human labor.
Which in my estimation was a restatement of the Adam Smith quote. You approached the issue from a different direction... but it all works out in the end. Housing prices cannot increase without the capital to drive them up. I was merely agreeing with you in quote format.
The Smith quote is a demand-side dynamic: increased wealth > increased activity > increased demand.
Sprawl is a supply-side dynamic, increasing the minimum viable cost floor: greater sprawl, greater frictions, transport and commute delays, congestion and travel costs. For a given unit of labour you're incurring a greater overhead in (dead) travel time. Efficiency is decreasing, but labour demands its minimum viable wage.
2. The Federal Reserve's quantitative easing has artificially pushed down interest rates, which has predictably led to an increase in housing prices.
Housing stock tends to shrink with population since in a renters market there's less incentive for landlords to keep properties in rent-able condition. For example, an apartment remodel that might have been sub'd out for $10k and done in a month instead takes $5k and is done over the course of a year. When some % of all landlords start doing this to some % of properties it takes a chunk out of available supply and rents stay the same-ish.
Yes, considerably more.
not all the examples listed were permanently successful, e.g. both pittsburg and taiwan allowed their property valuations to fall far behind the true value of the land (in pittsburgs case once they reassessed the value of the land to reflect market value, the lvt ended up being repealed; in taiwan this behavior has contributed to a huge property bubble)
other examples are missing, e.g. possibly the best historical example of lvt (since it was the only tax levied), is kiatschou/tsingtao, the germany holding in china prior to ww1.
If anything, I feel like it helps make neighborhoods more dynamic by increasing the population density without increasing the physical density of buildings and roads.
That said, parking will be important (need enough room for garages or lots of on-street parking) since I assume these areas won't have great mass transit.
But it was blackholed for at least a year by the supreme chancellor of the senate (or whatever her official title is) even though it likely has enough votes to pass if it would have gone to the floor.
That’s democracy I guess?
A great outcome from this is that now that cities are finally implementing these policies, we can study their impacts.
At this point in YIMBY urbanist circles policies like this have taken on somewhat of a mythical panacea quality, so it’d be good to finally be able to ground the affordable housing discussion with hard data.
Nobody is going to drive ten miles to go to your local bodega. It's not going to increase traffic. You're not going to need more parking. You can even make it illegal to sell cigarettes and alcohol entirely there.
Besides, with the problems of drinking and driving, you should want alcohol stores nearby to drinkers can get their fix without having to drive to the store.
If you play SimCity, you can kind of model this by creating a new city from scratch and creating an urban core. Place a fire department and police department at the center and build out to roughly the perimeter of their coverage.
Keep improving development within that footprint until you have an economically viable city, then add a satellite suburb following a similar pattern.
Not everything needs to be in that footprint. You can have farms outside of it, for example, and you can have some industry with only fire coverage, no police.
But if you build a sprawling low-density city, you will find it is impossible to provide adequate services. You can't afford to pay for them. You wind up with high rates of poverty and crime.
Missing Middle housing also helps get an area to residential densities that help make public transit make sense. It also helps improve walkability.
A lot of the problems we have currently are because America sprawls. These problems likely won't be made worse by gently increasing densities. Increasing density in a good way should start to remedy a lot of these issues.
Some muckety-muck architecture magazine was interviewing Will Wright about SimCity, and they asked him a question something like “which ontological urban paradigm most influenced your design of the simulator, the Exo-Hamiltonian Pattern Language Movement, or the Intra-Urban Deconstructionist Sub-Culture Hypothesis?” He replied, “I just kind of optimized for game play.”
You only get in trouble if you are trying to accomplish something in the real world and being told "Your conclusion is wrong. That sounds nice in theory, but the real world doesn't work that way." And your response is to double down on "But the simulation says...!!!!" instead of going back to the drawing board and checking your assumptions and mental models.
This is a general forum with a lot of programmers and other professionals. Most people here are not professional city planners.
I have a Certificate in GIS. At one time, I was studying to be an urban planner. So I actually have some idea of how this stuff works in the real world.
I also play SimCity. My SimCity example was to say "If you want to understand this concept a little better without getting enough education to become an urban planner, you can loosely simulate this in this readily available game. Here's the way to do that."
Unfortunately the original models are biased, and so too is SimCity's model of the model.
Also, it's humantransit, which specifically promotes walking, cycling, etc. so they're going to be understandably annoyed when the cited inspiration for plenty of city planners understates the negative impact of car dependence.
Foot paths are very good for traffic without congestion which makes perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is the complete lack of time or distance limit meaning the population will happily walk a massive pedestrian walkway the length of an entire sector.
A somewhat more realistic way is to use subways to link your high density residences with no highway access to places like work and retail while leaving the roads for mostly delivery trucks and emergency services. Apparently Japanese developments were practically planned this way - adding to where a new subway loop and putting housing on top for synergy.
How far is sector? What would you consider reasonable walking distances? Something like 30mins regularly, 60-90mins occasionally?
Single data point: I'm a pedestrian. I haven't owned a car in over a decade. I'm willing to walk up to 30 minutes regularly and farther occasionally. I also use public transit sometimes.
People walking as a mode of transit aren't competing with joggers for who gets there first. These times are for planning purposes.
Of course, it's okay if you walk faster than that. But planning departments need to look at "Who will actually walk this?" And the answer is "Ordinary people will walk it if it isn't over 30 minutes, but 15 minutes is better. And that works at these distances."
You see the most traffic from establishments within a quarter mile, and some additional traffic within the half mile radius but outside the quarter mile. It drops off steeply outside of the half mile radius.
While I get that tolerances vary I think walking marathons is a bit unreasonable for a commute and should probably draw complaints and lower desirability like congestion about things being too far away.
It could be a case of differing norms admittedly. Reminds me of one complaint from an online friend in Southern California about how Civilization used an unrealistically dark color for the ocean - she was used to a lighter blue compared to the more northern ocean color chosen. Both colors are realistic but assumptions differed and varying it visually would be confusing for gameplay reasons.
Anyway I would probably set the game limit to a fraction of a typical service radius (perhaps specifically setting it based on age and health) or make it more consistent with their sidewalk preference behavior. Like say if the walking distance for children was the radius of a small elementry school but for teens it was half the radius of the high school.
Robust-first Computing: Distributed City Generation
A rough video demo of Trent R. Small's procedural city generation dynamics in the Movable Feast Machine simulator. See http://nm8.us/q for more information. Apologies for the poor audio!
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19311003 "From video game to day job: How ‘SimCity’ inspired a generation of city planners"
(and my specific comment from then: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19313380 )
Early iterations of SimCity would bring an alien invasion down on your head. I eventually concluded it was triggered by inadequate fire coverage.
I have yet to hear a single city planner talk about needing more fire departments as a magical talisman to ward off alien invasions.
I began playing SimCity because I was wondering if I might want to become an urban planner. It caused me to decide to get a Certificate in GIS because, good God, city planning would be so much better if we could handily look up the kind of data that is available on SimCity for making informed decisions if you take the time to look at it.
I have serious health problems. Life got in the way. So far, I haven't worked professionally in this field.
I did spend a lot of time on an urban planning forum for some years and founded a small subforum and was a low level moderator with limited moderating powers. So I've talked to actual professional planners, been to an urban planning conference, etc.
Lots of city planners play(ed) SimCity. Every one of them I've spoken to seems well aware of its limitations and that the real world doesn't actually work that way.
Unfortunately SimCity has actually inspired some weak minded, incompetent, deeply ignorant, anti-intellectual politicians. "We need a leader, not a reader."
>“We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change,” said Katsarelis. “While we at Maxis and Electronic Arts do not endorse any political candidates or their platforms, it’s interesting to see GOP candidate Herman Cain propose a simplified tax system like one we designed for the video game SimCity 4.” -Kip Katsarelis, a senior producer for Maxis
>How well did the 9-9-9 plan work in SimCity?
"Running SimCity 4 on its default tax setting was a disaster waiting to happen," says Bridgette P. LaVictoire in Lez Get Real. Unless you used a cheat code, "you ran out of money pretty fast, in fact, and had to go deep into debt." But even if it had worked, there's a pretty huge difference between running a fake city and the most powerful nation on earth. Also, notes TIME's Newman, "Sim City 4 features meteors, UFOs, and robot attacks, which would probably mess up most attempts at realistic modeling."
>According to the Republican presidential candidate's revolutionary plan, corporate income taxes, personal income taxes, and national sales tax rates would each be 9%. Seems smart and original, right? Wrong. Reporters have unearthed an astonishing similarity between Cain's 9-9-9 Plan and SimCity 4's default tax scheme.
>So while most have likened Cain's 9-9-9 plan to a pizza commercial promotion, they now have a new origin story. And as DealBook's Will Alden (formerly of HuffPost), tweets, "If you're gonna rip a tax plan from a video game you could definitely do worse than SimCity."
>The Cain camp remains resolute however responding to the SimCity comparisons by saying “everyone likes 9-9-9.” While that might be true for some, unfortunately there aren’t any cheat codes to make the math work in real life.
>Trump joked military should come up with a Herman Cain-style '9-9-9 plan' for border: report
>Trump summoned Cain to the meeting, and then told the military brass that they needed to come up with a “9-9-9” plan for the border. The joke fell flat.
If it weren't SimCity, they would draw lazy solutions from somewhere else. Politicians and city planners are mostly different classes of people.
In the US, we have minimal requirements for "qualifying" to run for office. The system was intentionally designed that way. It certainly has its downsides.
I don't currently have the time or bandwidth to read through everything you have posted. I have bookmarked your other comment already and look forward to digging into it at some point.
I had never heard of Doreen Nelson. Doreen is an uncommon name. I initially thought you were talking about me and was glad to see you weren't.
Yes, Doreen's not a common name, so seeing your name in the thread reminded me of other Doreen's work, and inspired me to post about it.
Did you know that Wolfram Alpha can try to guess your age by your name (it doesn't actually guess since it's not artificially intelligent yet, but it does tell you the most common year for any name):
It "thinks" I'm 64 years old!
It's more useful for "Constructionist Education" and "Design Based Learning", as practiced by Seymour Papert and Doreen Nelson.
Constructionism (learning theory):
>Constructionist learning is when learners construct mental models to understand the world around them. Constructionism advocates student-centered, discovery learning where students use information they already know to acquire more knowledge. Students learn through participation in project-based learning where they make connections between different ideas and areas of knowledge facilitated by the teacher through coaching rather than using lectures or step-by-step guidance. Further, constructionism holds that learning can happen most effectively when people are active in making tangible objects in the real world. In this sense, constructionism is connected with experiential learning and builds on Jean Piaget's epistemological theory of constructivism.
>Seymour Papert defined constructionism in a proposal to the National Science Foundation titled Constructionism: A New Opportunity for Elementary Science Education as follows:
>"The word constructionism is a mnemonic for two aspects of the theory of science education underlying this project. From constructivist theories of psychology we take a view of learning as a reconstruction rather than as a transmission of knowledge. Then we extend the idea of manipulative materials to the idea that learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences as constructing a meaningful product."
Chaim Gingold's PhD thesis "Play Design" deeply analyzes SimCity, and also has an entire section about Doreen Nelson's lifetime work on "City Building Education".
Not only did she write the SimCity 3000 Teacher's Guide for Maxis, but long before SimCity ever existed, she developed "Design Based Learning", which in 1974 she originally called "City Building Education", in which kids built cities out of cardboard instead of pixels.
Chaim Gingold's thesis on "Play Design":
page 366> Play has a complex relationship to what is not play. Depending on who you ask, SimCity, the
software toy, is either a frivolous diversion or an earnest model—and sometimes both. Right
from the start, SimCity had appeal as an educational tool, a quality that Maxis tried to capitalize
on. According to Braun, “It was never our intention to go into the education market, but the
education market came to us and said: ‘This is what we need if you’re gonna work with us.’ ”
What the education market wanted was teacher’s guides that translated and adapted SimCity
for classroom use. It didn’t hurt that Brøderbund, Maxis’s publishing partner, was deep into the
then hot educational software market, and that along with the investment Maxis received from
venture capitalists in 1992, came a hunger for aggressive growth into new markets. Wright,
of course, was busy making titles like SimEarth and SimAnt for an uncertain market. Maybe
that market was education?
>[...] One of the teachers Curtin hired was
Doreen Nelson, a brilliant and innovative educator who had developed a pedagogy called City
Building Education, in which students collaboratively built cities out of craft materials and role
play. Nelson become a regular visitor to Maxis, and Curtin made some trips to Los Angeles to
see City Building in action, where she found the experience of “watching a classroom actually
go through a couple of days worth of creation” to be “very inspiring. … I will never forget that
experience” (Curtin 2015; Nelson 2015). 
> This translation took the form of a short teacher’s guide, a pamphlet, really, written by Michael Bremer, and
published by Maxis in 1989—the same year SimCity was released, explaining the limitations and applications of
SimCity, and offering curricular questions and scripts. Within a few years, Maxis became more serious about
tackling the education market, and hired Claire Curtin, in 1992, as their first educational product manager, charging her with finding ways to package SimCity, SimEarth, and SimAnt for the school market. Prior to joining Maxis,
Curtin had been the senior producer of Brøderbund’s hit educational franchise, Where In The World Is Carmen
Sandiego?, a job she had started in 1988, immediately after finishing graduate studies at NYU’s Educational Communication and Technology program, where she had studied with the noted education technology researcher Roy
Pea. Over the course of her career at Maxis, Curtin shifted roles and projects, a result of Maxis’s fickle focus
and its inability to produce hits beyond SimCity (chapter 5). Later, when Maxis defocused on a hard to reach
education market, Curtin would go on to co-design or co-produce the kids’ titles SimTown (1995) and SimSafari
(1998). Curtin collaborated closely with Roxana (“Roxy”) Wolosenko, and after Maxis decided not to do any more
kid specific titles, the two of them were shifted to Wright’s “Dollhouse” project—a title that was not spoken out
loud due to its gender connotations—where they were instrumental, as Wright’s co-designers, in evolving the
design focus away from time management and towards people and interactions inspired by everyday life. It is
this more human centric vision of Dollhouse that eventually saw release as The
Sims, which became, at long last,
the second commercially successful Sim title (Curtin 2015).
>Design-based learning was developed in the 1980s by Doreen Nelson, a professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and the Art Center College of Design. Her findings suggested that kinesthetic problem-solving helps students acquire, retain, and synthesize information in practical ways.
Doreen Nelson's SimCity 3000 Teacher's Guide:
Here's a transcript of the HAR2009 talk I gave about "Micropolis: Constructionist Educational Open Source SimCity", which explores some ideas of applying Constructionism to SimCity.
Here's some more information on the design of SimCity:
SimCity is a fun game but it's really broken for modelling real world stuff.
SC4 intentionally made it stupidly easy to make the city work financially and also killed what I thought of as "the game god." It's all ooh, shiny and can be fun in a largely superficial manner. But I don't think it works well as an actual city simulation anymore.
(SC4 followed the company acquisition. It has a more polished, corporate feel and it's cool that it has things like recycling centers. But I am not really a fan.)
I cannot find an article about it, but one city uploaded it's data to SimCity and got surprisingly solid city modeling results. This was before the joke that is SC4.
Edit: Geez, can we not downvote the comment I'm replying to? I left out the fact that I primarily play SimCity 3000. It's a perfectly reasonable reply that prompted me to fill in missing details that I hadn't thought to include in my original comment.
I have no problem with that generally because I would rather see downvotes than see every single person who disagrees feel compelled to pile on with petty BS. But in this case, the comment called attention to a defect in my earlier comment -- my failure to specify which SimCity -- and allowed me to add the missing information.
Since my reply with the additional info has substantial upvotes, I think it's wrong to punish the comment that elicited that reply from me. It has too much of that "you win an argument by making the other guy lose" vibe.
I hesitate to say this explicitly, because past experience suggests it will result in a temporary pile-on of everyone and their brother nitpicking the hell out of my comments, but I really don't want to discourage good faith comments that nudge me to address defects or omissions in my comments. I don't think that improves discussion here. I think it makes things worse.
"Don't shoot the messenger."
Also simcity 4 isn't meant to be a 1:1 mapping from game to real city anyway. Most buildings in simcity4 can hold a multiple of what they would contain in real life; it is a model of a city, not a real city, after all. So it stands to reason that they could just cut out the parking lots for aesthetic purposes.
What's the argument for sprawl leading to less infrastructure burden?
In short, the highest density cannot be as cheap as the mid density because the rent you need to justify that level of building must be higher than the middle levels.
On the other hand, 5 floors is much larger than most areas have. There is plenty of room to grow denser without crossing that limit.
There are also sticky factors. It costs a lot of money to build something. If you already have a building your rent needs to be high to justify tearing down a perfectly good building and building larger. It is possible for rent to be increasing fast in a neighborhood with only a few more people who want to live there than there are units. So you risk building bigger only to discover you can't rent all your new apartments and rent drops for everybody as supply now exceeds demand.
If a large apartment building was built in 1979 with a target rent price of $500/mo, that would have been considered a high-end development. Today, that building could (not necessarily will) provide low-income housing. As it would be paid off and $500/mo per unit could probably still provide enough money for maintenance and upkeep.
There is a lot of money in London, people just can't fathom how much. An income of £100k a year only gets you around the top 10% of workers.
Needless to say. The closest you get to the center, the more you are competing against the very top percentile, which is filthy rich.
I agree with your sprawl argument in general, but specifically for this article it does not apply.
Some of what I do is audited (for tax purposes) but nobody is telling me not to build a shed, or where I should build it, or how tall or what color.
But I cashed out of Silicon Valley and bought 80 acres in the county, build a house on it, so my experience is not typical. City-dwellers have layer upon layer of restrictions.
people could basically build whatever they want on the piece of dirt they owned.
Planning permission is where old people who want to keep house prices inflated as they already own property can go to council meetings and object to anything new. Young people can't take part because they have to go to work and stuff, and don't have time to go to council meetings.
Much of today’s nonsense becomes so much clearer when you learn what was par for the course merely a century ago.
There are plenty of condo/apartment towers going up in Portland too, but this bill addresses the much larger areas of the city where those aren't viable.
Even San Francisco (inarguably an area that should be densely urban) bans duplexes (or denser) in over 30% of the city's residential areas.
They're the leading cause of death among young people, and they take up massive amounts of space in our cities.
Note that there are competing concerns and incentives here. Cities have other pressures which run other ways.
One of the best ways that cities can contribute to lowering CO2 emissions is to make it so that the city is designed in such a way that a car is not a mandatory requirement for travel.
Creating reasonably dense residential/commercial communities that are traversable by walking and active transportation instead of sprawling out to the horizon is how to achieve this.
Other concern: what are the effects of super-dense cities on mental health? Spread-out cities often have a lot more green, which I know has positive effects mentally:
Loads of differences between US/UK but still
Those property developers are taking on a considerable amount of inventory risk. One hiccup in the housing market and they go bankrupt. If that’s the game they are willing to play, then so be it.
Or to buying up enough aluminum that you can hoard it.
Or owning enough land that you choose the price.
When you control the supply of an essential resource, you can name your price. Great way to make money, terrible way to make a society.
The trend for cities in the past 75 years has been to down some continuously until there's not enough spare land that's zoned to account for the necessary population growth. Then, in that highly supply constrained environment, use political processes to upzone only a tiny amount of land. Typically this is the "blight," the few places that minorities where allowed to live when racist deed restrictions were allowed, the areas where city services were less, and that stayed that way.
Societies would take the most undervalued land, force the huge backed up pressure into these vulnerable neighborhoods, and let the few lucky developers that were politically savvy enough to navigate the process make away with the profits.
Now that it's everywhere, there will be more competition between developers and there will be far less exploitation of an artificially restricted resource. Land is already restricted enough, zoning for density just makes it all the more scarce and exploitable by the powerful.
Hoping I’m wrong, but the last few decades’ antics with investors tells me I’m not.
If the existing capital holders build a bunch of rentals, then many of those goals are not possible.
There are external risks. In the case of XBox, Microsoft can either unexpectedly increase supply or the demand can be lower than expected.
full-time airbnb's with extra bedrooms and bathrooms tacked on in any way that they can
Point 1. Residential highrises should become the main housing option
Point 2. Stop subsidising suburban lifestyle for the rich
Point 3. Massive public investments into infrastructure
Point 4. Replace zoning regulations with something less extremely specific or go for sanitary code type regulation
Point 5. Stop requiring people without cars to buy unneeded parking space on their own plot
The average price of a house is $226500. (https://www.zillow.com/home-values/).
Almost anyone can get an FHA mortgage with 3.5% down. The thought that only rich people can afford a home is not true for most of the country.
In fact here in Atlanta there is a trend toward upper class neighborhoods separating from Atlanta and creating separate cities - no this isn’t a good thing.
Want to reduce homelessness? Build homes.
Want to reduce ridiculously overpriced homes? Build homes.
A townhouse is 2-story and it touches another one. It could be a duplex, but it might be on a separate lot or it might be part of a group of more than 2.
In the UK, Ireland, etc. a "terraced" house is essentially what we'd call a townhouse - they can be in groups of 2, 3, 20, etc.
A single property (usually a single building) consisting of exactly 2 housing units.
> I guess "semi-detached" would be closest but not sure?
Semi-detached is similar, but AFAIK usually refers to separate properties sharing a wall not two housing units on one property. There appear to be regional variations in both terms, though.
But in the end I think we need to keep in mind that there will need to additional aggressive legislation to even keep prices flat relative to wages let alone reduce them.
Edit: typo in author name.
The federal 1996 Telecommunications Act, and OTARD rule in the implementing regulations, explicitly prohibits rules preventing over-the-air reception antennas "by homeowner, townhome, condominium or cooperative association rules, including deed restrictions, covenants, by-laws and similar restrictions".
So the law proposed by HB 2001 could sever the clause preventing duplexes or render the entire HOA agreement invalid (if no severability clause), and therefore make duplexes allowed in HOA neighborhoods.
But... it does not. It only reaches down to the "local government" level, which is the municipal or county zoning restrictions. The NIMBYest of the NIMBYs will already have HOA agreements that match or make more restrictive the zoning requirements of their municipalities. The effect will probably be to increase the prevalence of HOAs to impede progress, in lieu of zoning.
I am not a lawyer or legislator, but the bill should have been amended to burn out anti-density covenants, deed restrictions, and association by-laws.