National Links: Sugarcoating Housing, Blockchain, and Parking Minimums

Every day at The Direct Transfer we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list.  At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

The housing market sugarcoating must end: An economist at Zillow is sounding the alarm that the housing market is weakening due to high demand on the low end of the housing market where supply doesn’t exist. This means that while the market looks good from afar, it’s terrible for first time and younger home buyers who must compete harder at the lower end driving up prices. At this rate, rents will continue to go up and the market for housing will push down disposable income. (CNBC)

Is Blockchain the next big technology for government?: Blockchain, a distributed ledger technology made famous by bitcoin, has been on the tongues of government officials recently as they and technology companies hope to streamline and safeguard processes like document consistency across departments. There are also hopes and dreams that the technology can be used to keep scammers from selling homes they don’t own and reduce a need for basic data entry. (Governing Magazine)

Public private partnerships abandoned by Trump Administration: Earlier this year discussions about infrastructure from the new administration revolved around creating a $200 billion fund from repatriated corporate profits that would support $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. Now that idea has reportedly been abandoned, as Trump himself discussed the failings of the Indiana Toll Road in the home state of his Vice President.  One problem is that infrastructure (especially in rural places) is fundamentally unprofitable, which doesn’t work for this type of scheme at all. (New York Magazine)

An over-organized park loses playfulness: The recent withdrawal of a Pier 55 park proposal in New York and the Garden Bridge in London have been hailed as wins for those who want parks to reflect the messy vitality of cities. Philanthropies and other agents of change are welcomed, but also often have an agenda of organization that makes parks less fun and playful. (New York Times)

Santa Monica rids itself of parking minimums: The City of Santa Monica has gotten rid of parking minimums this summer in order to support other city goals such as boosting transit, using resources better and making housing and businesses cheaper to build and own. Part of the existing problem was unused parking. In one instance a hotel almost at full occupancy was only using 17 percent of its parking. (Los Angeles Times)

Quote of the Week

In other words, autonomous vehicles will rely on an epistemological dialectic, balancing empiricism with carto-rationalism, and chorography with geography.

Shannon Mattern in Places Journal discussing all of the characteristics autonomous vehicles will need in order to drive.

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer