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The most fundamental fact about rental housing in the United States is that rental units are overwhelmingly in multifamily structures. This fact surely reflects the agency problems associated with renting single-family dwellings, and it should influence all discussions of rental housing policy. Policies that encourage homeowning are implicitly encouraging people to move away from higher density living; policies that discourage renting are implicitly discouraging multifamily buildings.
A new working paper from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Opportunity series examines a major demographic shift in housing voucher recipients from the cities to the suburbs. Authors Kenya Covington, Lance Freeman and Michael A. Stoll write: “Just as the suburbanization of poverty has gathered momentum, Americans who use housing choice vouchers (HCV) to help pay for their housing have increasingly moved into suburban areas as well.” The authors studied data from 2000 to 2008 to see how this shift has taken place.
They found that:
Nearly half of all HCV recipients lived in suburban areas in 2008. However, HCV recipients remained less suburbanized than the total population, the poor population, and affordable housing units generally.
Black HCV recipients suburbanized fastest over the 2000 to 2008 period, though white HCV recipients were still more suburbanized than their black or Latino counterparts by 2008. Black HCV recipients’ suburbanization rate increased by nearly 5 percent over this period, while for Latinos it increased by about 1 percent. The suburbanization rate for white HCV recipients declined slightly. Read More »
Ed Glaeser is an economist’s economist — as smart as they come, driven by empiricism, with something interesting to say about nearly anything. He has just published a new book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier. Glaeser argues that cities often get a bad rap even though they are “actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live. New Yorkers, for instance, live longer than other Americans; heart disease and cancer rates are lower in Gotham than in the nation as a whole. More than half of America’s income is earned in twenty-two metropolitan areas. And city dwellers use, on average, 40 percent less energy than suburbanites.”
We’re pleased to offer the following guest post from Glaeser on the glory of cities. I hope you find it as enthralling as I did. Read More »
We’ve discussed before what suburbia might look like in the future. Dwell and Inhabitat.com asked designers, planners, and engineers to submit their ideas for a suburban re-do (ReBurbia), and invited readers to vote on the top 20 finalists. Read More »
Photo: Peter Katz On a forum at the Chicago outpost of City-Data.com, a certain JohnDoe2008 asked suburbanites: Why do you like suburbs over [the] city? Be honest please, I never understood it, still don’t. I might have serious problems, because I hate even looking at pictures of suburbs. Respondents cited backyards, quiet and cheap living, […] Read More »