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Old 24-02-2020, 02:25   #301
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Re: Substandard Housing

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
Years ago, in my Econ 101 class a wise old professor taught us this simple fact of public economics - we tax what we want less and we exempt from taxes what we want more of

Point 3. IMO, zoning in all of it's communistically evil concept is the main culprit for both the lack of true market driven housing pricing levels and so much homelessness we see these days. Had we kept state and local building laws to a simple requirement - if the building engineering department signs off on safety and viability of the structure on a given lot - there should be no impediments to building such structure, including not having all that "it will block my view or sunlight" by the next door NIMBY neighbors, we'd have plenty of reasonably priced and affordable housing for all levels of income and lifestyles.

And those who truly do not want their sunlight blocked by the highrises next door should really be buying 100 acre plots in the country and not have their city condo views subsidized by the property owners next door whose lot prices/values are depressed by the zoning restrictions. Same with the waterfront Nazis who push to upend centuries old maritime navigation laws just to have clear views from their proches. They should be buying where anchoring is difficult or not feasible if they want perpetually unobstructed views.

End of rant.
Youíve forgotten two rules:

1) Developers are evil, and
2) Developers have more money than you.

So if there is one thing we should know, itís that if we didnít have zoning laws, things would be much, much worse for most people. Any desirable location would be filled with office buildings and condos. Frankly, itís almost like that already.
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Old 24-02-2020, 02:59   #302
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Re: Substandard Housing

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Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
Youíve forgotten two rules:

1) Developers are evil, and
2) Developers have more money than you.

So if there is one thing we should know, itís that if we didnít have zoning laws, things would be much, much worse for most people. Any desirable location would be filled with office buildings and condos. Frankly, itís almost like that already.

If you live in a house -- thank a developer.


Seriously? Developers are evil?


City planning is needed not to rein in developers. It's needed to shape the city and city life on a macro level beyond the reach of what any developer can do.


Good city planners and good developers are both in the same business -- the business of creating places and making cities work, just on different scales, and neither is able to work effectively without the other. Cities and neighborhoods which work well -- what planners work for -- are places where developers can make attractive places in which people want to buy space, so developers are just as much interested in good city planning, as city planners are interested in good development.



Eliminating "evil" developers was tried -- in the Soviet Union. It doesn't work very well (although you have to admit that there are some notable achievements of Soviet city planning, such as the non-existence of bad neighborhoods in the biggest cities). Development without developers doesn't work very well because bureaucrats administering state building programs don't have the means to understand deeply what people want and what people are willing to pay for. You need market mechanisms and people taking risk, for that, and to efficiently produce new buildings.



The quality of city planning varies wildly according to country and city. It's done very poorly in most secondary U.S. cities, shockingly poorly, although it's slowly getting better in some places like Nashville and Atlanta and Austin after a century of barbarism. It is done extremely well in many European cities, especially in Northern Europe, where there is in many places a strongly pro-development general policy (much more so than in the U.S.) linked with a very highly developed planning vision, with planning carried out not only by zoning but by detailed master plans, and so very productive cooperation between developers and planners.
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Old 24-02-2020, 06:21   #303
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Re: Substandard Housing

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One of the great joys of owning a cruising sailboat is, besides the sailing, getting to live in all kinds of different places, and move whenever you want to. Not only a sea view, but can be a different sea view every week or every day if you like. What could be better?
Pretty sure that equals ďunderway and actively cruisingĒ
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Old 24-02-2020, 06:58   #304
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Re: Substandard Housing

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If you live in a house -- thank a developer.


Seriously? Developers are evil?


City planning is needed not to rein in developers. It's needed to shape the city and city life on a macro level beyond the reach of what any developer can do.


Good city planners and good developers are both in the same business -- the business of creating places and making cities work, just on different scales, and neither is able to work effectively without the other. Cities and neighborhoods which work well -- what planners work for -- are places where developers can make attractive places in which people want to buy space, so developers are just as much interested in good city planning, as city planners are interested in good development.



Eliminating "evil" developers was tried -- in the Soviet Union. It doesn't work very well (although you have to admit that there are some notable achievements of Soviet city planning, such as the non-existence of bad neighborhoods in the biggest cities). Development without developers doesn't work very well because bureaucrats administering state building programs don't have the means to understand deeply what people want and what people are willing to pay for. You need market mechanisms and people taking risk, for that, and to efficiently produce new buildings.



The quality of city planning varies wildly according to country and city. It's done very poorly in most secondary U.S. cities, shockingly poorly, although it's slowly getting better in some places like Nashville and Atlanta and Austin after a century of barbarism. It is done extremely well in many European cities, especially in Northern Europe, where there is in many places a strongly pro-development general policy (much more so than in the U.S.) linked with a very highly developed planning vision, with planning carried out not only by zoning but by detailed master plans, and so very productive cooperation between developers and planners.
Perhaps you didn’t understand that the context of the comment was in response to “zoning is evil”. Thanks for not bringing up Hitler in your response. You showed remarkable restraint.

If you don’t have the protection of zoning, you lose the benefit of city planning, as it would be completely ignored by the aforementioned developers with money. I thank zoning for there not being a convenience store, chicken farm or CBD shop next door to my house. If it were solely left to developers, there would surely be some large or unpleasant structure near my residence.

I don’t dislike developers. The “are evil” part was only in response to the idea that they should be limited to only what their conscience dictates. Like anybody, they need limits. Greed works. Right up until you remove all regulation. The combination of city planning and developers isn’t a bad system when everybody plays by the rules. The combination of developers, lawyers, and politicians is a fairly lethal mix. It’s why public notice is needed to change zoning.

Part of cruising is the freedom to get away from other people’s choices being thrust upon you. Even in that lifestyle, you’ll find yourself surrounded by other people’s choices. The freedom is in your ability to pull in your lines and relocate.
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Old 24-02-2020, 08:14   #305
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Re: Substandard Housing

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
Years ago, in my Econ 101 class a wise old professor taught us this simple fact of public economics - we tax what we want less and we exempt from taxes what we want more of.
You're not wrong, but it's necessary to understand who the "we" is. Because of imperfect democracy and other distorting influences, the "we" is not always a true indication of what the public needs or wants.

Re fair market value... it's the "fairest" approach to taxing properties we have. Anything else would be massively uneven and wide open to gaming, house sales that aren't house sales, etc.

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Seriously? Developers are evil?

City planning is needed not to rein in developers. It's needed to shape the city and city life on a macro level beyond the reach of what any developer can do.

Good city planners and good developers are both in the same business -- the business of creating places and making cities work, just on different scales, and neither is able to work effectively without the other. Cities and neighborhoods which work well -- what planners work for -- are places where developers can make attractive places in which people want to buy space, so developers are just as much interested in good city planning, as city planners are interested in good development.
There's one big precondition in the above: "good". Really good city planning is the exception over here, and even what was seen as good in the last century (massively car-centric design) is now not as suitable or desirable.

It's also cultural, as you've noted here and before. In a culture where planning and cooperation are less valued, and group relationships are more self-interested and adversarial... planning is harder.

Are developers evil? Let's just say that their interest and focus can be so narrow that they are often indifferent or hostile to any community goals that might impact their goal of maximizing profits.

(are we having fun yet?)
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Old 24-02-2020, 09:37   #306
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Re: Substandard Housing

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. . . (are we having fun yet?). . .

Sure we are! We're drifting pretty far off topic, but these are really interesting questions.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
. . . You're not wrong, but it's necessary to understand who the "we" is. Because of imperfect democracy and other distorting influences, the "we" is not always a true indication of what the public needs or wants.

. . .

There's one big precondition in the above: "good". Really good city planning is the exception over here, and even what was seen as good in the last century (massively car-centric design) is now not as suitable or desirable.

It's also cultural, as you've noted here and before. In a culture where planning and cooperation are less valued, and group relationships are more self-interested and adversarial... planning is harder.

Are developers evil? Let's just say that their interest and focus can be so narrow that they are often indifferent or hostile to any community goals that might impact their goal of maximizing profits.

. . .

There are as many evil planners and bureaucrats as there are evil developers, evil politicians, and even evil homeowners obstructing development at the expense of the community for the selfish goal of earning money from blackmail. Evil is inherent to the human race. But so is good.


Developers who earn profits by making communities worse do exist, but these are the exception, because you don't generally make profits by making the place you are investing in worse. The best way to make profits as a developer is by making a better place which is more attractive for living and working or whatever, which makes the prices go up.



There are some planners who don't understand or care how investment actually takes place and obstruct needed development to the detriment of the community. But in most places this is the exception, because planners need new development in order to make their plan into reality. So although there is always some at least creative tension between planners and developers, there are also strong incentives to cooperate.



We did have a lot of dreadful city planning in the last century, and much of it can be attributed to simply bad principles of regulation. One of the worst was forbidding higher density development and forcing developers to build housing units on larger pieces of land, creating suburbs which could not be serviced except by automobile. And zoning which forbid mixing uses, creating districts with offices but no housing units and no life outside of working hours. Developers would not have built neighborhoods that way if they had not been forced to do so by bad planning. Lowering the density of new housing development was seen as "modern" and "progressive" -- as a way to eliminate slums. But the unintended consquence was to create horrible suburbs with no community life, separated from workplaces and forcing people to kill their lives with commuting. Only recently do we understand our mistake, a mistake which was not made or hardly made anywhere in Europe, and start to encourage rather than prohibit higher density housing, especially around transport hubs. If someone spoke of zoning as "evil", he may have been speaking about this, and with justice.



I guess that's quite enough of my blathering on the subject, but for anyone interested in these topics there is a ton of good reading material. One wacky but absolutely brilliant work on these things, quite old already so all the more prophetic, is Christopher Alexander's classic A Pattern Language, https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Langu.../dp/0195019199. Anyone even slightly interested in these subjects will have a feast with that.
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Old 24-02-2020, 10:42   #307
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Re: Substandard Housing

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There are as many evil planners and bureaucrats as there are evil developers, evil politicians, and even evil homeowners obstructing development at the expense of the community for the selfish goal of earning money from blackmail. Evil is inherent to the human race. But so is good.

Developers who earn profits by making communities worse do exist, but these are the exception, because you don't generally make profits by making the place you are investing in worse.
You are making declarative statements not in evidence. How many evil planners are there, vs how many evil developers and politicians? Let's see some numbers. They all seem to think they're in it to do good.

Both good and evil are inherent in the human race. It's a matter of values as to which control an individual. And while developers don't start out more evil than the average person, their motives might be different, and their impact is definitely greater.

There are surely developers who appear to be in it just for the money, even if I don't think any would admit that. You can spot them fairly easily, though. They're the ones who think any green space is a place to jam in a subdivision or commercial space and make some money for themselves, as long as it's within the limits set out by the local planning commission. It's a rare developer indeed who builds a beautiful community that doesn't tend to shrink the houses or condos to the most recent standards to fit more in.

While I'm certain that there are developers who care about their legacy in terms of the communities they build, I'd be hesitant to bet that in general their driver is community improvement over profit improvement. I just haven't seen the evidence of that in most developments.
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Old 24-02-2020, 11:24   #308
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Re: Substandard Housing

Given the shortage of affordable housing in many urban and suburban areas, shrinking the size of homes and condominiums as well as building apartments on infill lots is a good thing. It might cause some green space to go away, but people need places to live. And driving your car 30 or 40 miles from your work to a subdivision in the country is not sustainable going forward.

If the developer is following the rules and regulations set be the local zoning board what’s the problem? If you don’t like what results, your complaint is with the rules, not those who obey them.
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Old 24-02-2020, 12:23   #309
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Re: Substandard Housing

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If the developer is following the rules and regulations set be the local zoning board what’s the problem? If you don’t like what results, your complaint is with the rules, not those who obey them.
I suppose the real problem is when the local zoning board isn't competent or well informed, and/or the developer has had the foresight to stack it with "friendlies". Don't tell me that it doesn't happen. The ideal situation, of course, is transparency and having a community that is as organized and aware as the developers. This is not often the situation.

Who makes the rules? Ever ask yourself why developers take such an interest in local politics? They're generally a LOT more organized than the community, who are busy working their jobs, feeding their children, and trying to find the time to support a hobby like boating.

I'll refer people to to the post that started this discussion. The statement there was that zoning is evil, and that everyone should have the freedom to develop whatever they want, wherever they want. I pointed out why this is not a good idea.
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Old 24-02-2020, 14:03   #310
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Re: Substandard Housing

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I suppose the real problem is when the local zoning board isn't competent or well informed, and/or the developer has had the foresight to stack it with "friendlies". Don't tell me that it doesn't happen. The ideal situation, of course, is transparency and having a community that is as organized and aware as the developers. This is not often the situation.

Who makes the rules? Ever ask yourself why developers take such an interest in local politics? They're generally a LOT more organized than the community, who are busy working their jobs, feeding their children, and trying to find the time to support a hobby like boating.

I'll refer people to to the post that started this discussion. The statement there was that zoning is evil, and that everyone should have the freedom to develop whatever they want, wherever they want. I pointed out why this is not a good idea.
Then not being involved is a choice that you have made: you know that being politically active can influence things like zoning boards, you just choose not to. For whatever the reason you have chosen to leave those decisions up to others who act in their own best interest and not in yours. This is democracy in action and the way it is supposed to work. If you care enough to get involved you have influence, if you don’t care that much you don’t. From your post I can see that you know what the problems are, they just aren’t enough of a problem to you to do anything.
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Old 24-02-2020, 14:09   #311
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Re: Substandard Housing

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Then not being involved is a choice that you have made: you know that being politically active can influence things like zoning boards, you just choose not to. For whatever the reason you have chosen to leave those decisions up to others who act in their own best interest and not in yours. This is democracy in action and the way it is supposed to work. If you cate enough to get involved you have influence , if you don’t care that much you don’t.

I'm pointing out the inherent advantages developers have in the zoning process. They have ample funds and organization, and are often up against limited opposition from people in the community who aren't organized, but just want a nice place to live. Unfortunately, they sometimes have different agendas.

Also, I'm not here to be lectured by you. Particularly with the old "If it was stolen, it was because it wasn't well enough protected by it's owner" speech.
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Old 24-02-2020, 14:18   #312
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Re: Substandard Housing

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Sorry you feel that. But it IS met just as it is used, not as a slur but as a description.
Come on sailorboy1, "boat scum" is not a description: "boat" ok, but "scum"? How does that describe someone or a group of people?

I happen to agree that junky boats are undesirable and "sub-standard" but I try to avoid offensive terms.
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Old 24-02-2020, 15:23   #313
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Re: Substandard Housing

Most People completely understand the descriptive phase - boat scum
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Old 24-02-2020, 15:24   #314
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Re: Substandard Housing

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Most People completely understand the descriptive phase - boat scum
I understand it completely, I just think it is a slur.
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Old 24-02-2020, 15:31   #315
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Re: Substandard Housing

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Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
You are making declarative statements not in evidence. How many evil planners are there, vs how many evil developers and politicians? Let's see some numbers. They all seem to think they're in it to do good.

Both good and evil are inherent in the human race. It's a matter of values as to which control an individual. And while developers don't start out more evil than the average person, their motives might be different, and their impact is definitely greater.

There are surely developers who appear to be in it just for the money, even if I don't think any would admit that. You can spot them fairly easily, though. They're the ones who think any green space is a place to jam in a subdivision or commercial space and make some money for themselves, as long as it's within the limits set out by the local planning commission. It's a rare developer indeed who builds a beautiful community that doesn't tend to shrink the houses or condos to the most recent standards to fit more in.

While I'm certain that there are developers who care about their legacy in terms of the communities they build, I'd be hesitant to bet that in general their driver is community improvement over profit improvement. I just haven't seen the evidence of that in most developments.

Well, you missed the main point. A developer will make far more money by making a BETTER community, than by degrading a community. The magic of a great community is what creates VALUE in real estate, so profits for a developer. So interests of developers and planners and communities are fundamentally aligned, if participants are able to see things in an enlightened way. Nothing wrong with "being in it for the money", if you make your money by creating something of value for others -- that's how the market economy works.



And what's wrong with "fitting more in"? It's bizarre mid 20th century flawed thinking, to think that low density is somehow automatically better -- it's not. American cities were almost destroyed with this stupidity. The best communities have enough density to create active, city life, contact with neighbors -- in short, community. More density helps that. Density articulated with great green space, density oriented to transport hubs so that people aren't forced to use cars.
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