Private sector finance

HUD expected to further ease restrictions on mixed-use financing

The administrative change to follow recent successful FHA standards, according to CNU president John Norquist.

Building high to qualify

Medium-rise residential is often more appropriate, but little-known Federal regulations have restricted this type of development for decades.

The fool proof city

The most brilliant innovations in building cities won't come from politicians, professionals and advocates. That brilliance is already embodied in the traditional development pattern.

Service areas are a rational response to low density development

Americans can choose between three distinct lifestyles: rural, urban and suburban. These choices have been available throughout history, but we blurred their differences in our Suburban Experiment.

The broad appeal of per-acre tax evaluation

The idea makes a big splash in the current edition of Government Finance Review

Report calls for broad federal real estate reforms

The nation should curb mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions to expand housing programs, revitalize cities and towns, and cut the deficit, Smart Growth America and Locus say.

Detroit: Darkest before the dawn?

Amid all of the anguish over the bankruptcy of Detroit, Richard Florida offers one of the few hopeful analyses: "Detroit's downtown urban core is seeing more investment, economic activity and an influx of talent than it has in decades. This revitalization is concentrated and spotty and it is far from inclusive, but it is certainly something positive, generating jobs, revenue and much-needed hope and optimism that provide a foundation to build upon." White flight and sprawl were contributors to Detroit's downfall, Florida emphasizes. The decline of the automobile industry has left the region reeling, but metropolitan Detroit has assets. It is home to more than 5 million people with an economic output of nearly $200 billion, larger than New Zealand's. More than a third of the region's workers are what he terms "creative class," a larger percentage than the US as a whole. The Greater Downtown Corridor, a 7.2 square mile area that extends north from the city center, will benefit greatly from the construction of a planned light rail system that is funded from public and private sources. "Bankruptcy is likely to have little, if any, effect on this flow of investment capital back to the core," Florida says.

Second life cycle blues

The Suburban Experiment creates an illusion of wealth early on. As the city enters the second life cycle and the dispersed systems that came with the growth now need costly maintenance, the seductive illusion is slowly destroyed.

Detroit: An American autopsy

As Andrew Burleson was putting the finishing touches on his post here last week about Detroit's pending bankruptcy, I was on vacation pondering a powerful book by Charlie LeDuff.

What's wrong with a contract for deed?

Do we want systems that are chaotic and messy but where errors will be small and fixable or do we want systems that are orderly but large, complex, and prone to catastrophic failure?

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