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Response to Stephen Levy and his housing projections

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

Stephen,

I don't like locked down posts, therefore, I am responding to you in a free and open manner.

There is a ton of housing in the greater Bay Area. For example, Salinas is begging people to come buy up all those foreclosed homes. Same with Tracy and Manteca. People have been commmuting from those places, often using van-pools (a very efficient mode of transportation), for decades. They do this, because they can get a better deal on the types of homes they like (usually single family with yards for the kids to play in). They do not want to live in very small, densely packed units that are bad for kids.

The dense housing promoters are, essentially, anti family, becasue they either do not have families, or they have raised their own family, and now are OK with moving down in home size. They could care less about younger couples who actually want a healthy environment for their kids.

It is a foolish to insist upon Stalinist-style uber planning to solve and imaginary "jobs/housing imblance". Mr. Levy, you are talking about 30 year plans. Even Stalin, at his best, had a hard time with five year plans. We should not forget that the enforcement of such plans resulted in the gulag and mass murder.

The state laws that you refer to are, undoubtably, ones that you supported in the first place. Now you use them as a reason that you are obligated to support them, and to plan for them.

We should be discussing efficient means of transportation for the workers that want jobs in this region. High density housing is not the answer, and never will be. Suburds are very good things, in so many ways. Ask the families who live in them.



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.

Hi,

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.


 +   Like this comment
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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