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New Urban Development

Looking Back to See Forward

Claude Gruen

Publication Year: 2010

New Urban Development traces how locally induced housing cost increases led federal policy-makers to toss out the safeguards against lending excesses that had been put in place during the 1930s. But the story begins much earlier, during the colonial era, continuing up through the mortgage collapse that ushered in the recession of 2008. This history of these issues considers gentrification, environmentalism, sprawl, anti-sprawl movements, and more, and specifies thirteen changes to policies at the federal, state, and local levels to provide better and less expensive urban housing, desirable neighborhoods, and thriving workplaces across the country.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xi

It’s not unreasonable for you to ask right here and now: What is this book about? It’s about intentions, it’s about objectives aimed at achieving those intentions, and it’s about the decisions made to result in the intended objectives. Rarely do intentions, objectives, and decisions all align in any field of endeavor. The field of endeavor in this book is urban development. I wrote this book to help urban land-use ...

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1. Constraints on Housing Additions Escalate Prices

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pp. 1-21

The owner of any vacant land on your block, or in your neighborhood, or elsewhere in your city and county cannot build on that land without the permission of those you elected to govern your town and county. Even if you own the house you live in, you cannot remodel it or tear it down and rebuild without the approval of your local government. Your home may be your castle ...

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2. Vitality from Growth and Freedom to Change

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pp. 22-46

You know from chapter 1 that when housing production is constrained in cities or towns with the potential for growth, homes in those places become less affordable. Rising housing costs lower the living standards of residents and make it more difficult for renters to become owners. Working men and women react by seeking higher wages and moving to areas where costs are lower, especially ...

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3. Encouraging the Expansion of Land Use... and Constraining It

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pp. 47-74

The streets were not paved with gold in nineteenth-century American cities. But they offered working-class families a chance to earn their way up to a decent standard of living as well as to accumulate the beginnings of some wealth. In 1871 Henry George, a San Francisco printer and self-taught economist, explained why urban America offered opportunities that acted like a magnet to ...

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4. Housing Market Structure

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pp. 75-102

In somewhat the same way as computers are programmed with rules for performing specific calculations, laws, social norms, and physical conditions act as the operating rules that govern the choices available to the buyers and sellers in a particular market. In that sense, we may consider that markets “calculate” the price of goods and services from the data inputs of transactions between buyers ...

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5. How Neighborhoods Change, Why Occupants Change Neighborhoods

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pp. 103-122

Machinery, factories, equipment, and the financial equity of businesses are all examples of physical capital that produce products that satisfy human wants. The knowledge, values, and relationships that spur production and creativity to satisfy human wants comprise equally important social capital. If social capital is to enable the members of a community to work together for their mutual benefit ...

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6. The Turn against Expansion and Growth

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pp. 123-145

The “Indians” who threw tea into Boston Harbor touched off a revolution that gave birth to the United States of America. They were protesting against a government that restricted the supply of a common consumer item—tea. What followed from that protest was a revolution. The government of the new country that emerged from the revolution instituted a bias against interfering in trade ...

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7. Suburbanization and Sprawl

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pp. 146-169

With the Ramapo court victory under his belt, Robert Freilich went on to become a leading hero in the battle against sprawl. He wrote in his book, From Sprawl to Smart Growth: “The techniques upheld in Ramapo were quickly utilized in other jurisdictions (cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and states) over the next twenty-seven years to expand the role of planning, managing, and channeling ...

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8. Urban Policies for the New Economy

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pp. 170-201

President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reported to have said, “A crisis is too good an opportunity to miss.” I suspect he was talking about how the economic and financial crises that ushered in the current recession should be remedied with alterations in national, rather than urban, policies. But what is implied in what Emanuel said applies even more so to urban America ...


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pp. 203-209


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pp. 211-217


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pp. 219-228

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About the Author

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pp. 229

For more than forty years as principal economist of Gruen Gruen Associates, Dr. Claude Gruen has led studies and provided consulting to serve the economic interests of federal, state, and local land-use policymakers, investors, and property owners. He has lectured at universities and public forums and has published extensively in the fields of urban economics and land-use policy.

E-ISBN-13: 9780813550381
E-ISBN-10: 0813550386
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547930
Print-ISBN-10: 0813547938

Page Count: 244
Illustrations: 4 tables, 5 graphs
Publication Year: 2010