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Response to Stephen Levy and his housing projections

Original post made by Stefan, Fairmeadow, on Jul 11, 2009


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Comments (3)

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I also don't do the register thing and will comment here as well.

I share Stefan's concern about the *current* surplus of housing. One of the articles that really struck me was one that ran in the Atlantic in March 2008:

Web Link

including this graph:

"Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, has looked carefully at trends in American demographics, construction, house prices, and consumer preferences. In 2006, using recent consumer research, housing supply data, and population growth rates, he modeled future demand for various types of housing. The results were bracing: Nelson forecasts a likely surplus of 22 million large-lot homes (houses built on a sixth of an acre or more) by 2025—that’s roughly 40 percent of the large-lot homes in existence today."

And this one:

"It’s crucial to note that these premiums have arisen not only in central cities, but also in suburban towns that have walkable urban centers offering a mix of residential and commercial development. For instance, luxury single-family homes in suburban Westchester County, just north of New York City, sell for $375 a square foot. A luxury condo in downtown White Plains, the county’s biggest suburban city, can cost you $750 a square foot. This same pattern can be seen in the suburbs of Detroit, or outside Seattle. People are being drawn to the convenience and culture of walkable urban neighborhoods across the country—even when those neighborhoods are small."

As I said earlier, we have a surplus of housing in this country--and in this state. I think real regional planning, as I said earlier, would go well beyond trying to shove more people into small, functional cities like Palo Alto and more into replicating them elsewhere. Yes, I know that the Bay Area's an economic powerhouse. However, who has to live where has changed dramatically over the years and will continue to do so. There are few factories left around here--once they were common. The separation of corporate know-how and actual manufacturing is of relatively recent advent. Now, we're separating corporate know-how/knowledge workers as well.

One of the reasons I support HSR is because I actually think it's better for us locals in the long-term. It will make it possible to live in Fresno and show up at HQ in Sunnyvale a couple of times a week--and for a lot of jobs that will work well.

What will, I think, remain local is the deal-making (Sand Hill) and the start-up laboratories. But, frankly, retaining our current quality-of-life (better, yet, improving it.) makes both of those more likely to continue.

The last thing you want to do, long-term, is replace local retail with housing.

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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.


If you get here and want to discuss Palo Alto housing issues in the regional context there is an active thread that does not require registration--the Quiet Suburb thread I started amd now has over 3000 views.

The post Stefan responded to on my Economy blog is an explanation of the regional growth projection process that comes before discussion of sub regional allocations.

I thought it would be helpful to people debating the Palo Alto aspect to know how the regional growth projections were developed.

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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 13, 2009 at 6:21 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

Stefan did post his comments on the Quiet Suburb thread.

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