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Progressive Policies Promote Segregation

Posted by V the K at 8:45 am - August 25, 2016.
Filed under: Liberalism Run Amok

Kevin Williamson notes that America’s most progressive cities — New York, San Francisco, Detroit — are also its most segregated. And this is primarily due to progressive policies that discourage the development of affordable housing for the middle and lower classes.

 New York City’s density is well under half that of such ordinary cities as Barcelona, Buenos Aires, or Warsaw. New York is remarkable among U.S. cities for its tall buildings – and remarkable among world cities for its lack of them. Only a tiny number of New York City residences — less than 2 percent — are located in tall buildings, meaning those 20 stories or taller, far less than in comparable cities around the world. The number is even lower for cities such as Los Angeles (which actually has a higher population density than New York) and San Francisco. Building taller buildings makes urban residential real estate less expensive per square foot — you can have higher buildings or higher prices. New York, where the nice progressives want to put caps on tall buildings, has chosen higher prices — and, therefore, economic segregation, pushing the poor farther into the Bronx or New Jersey.

I don’t expect many comments on this post. This kind of thing — the dynamic interaction of policy and demographic effects — interests me, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of Earl Grey.



  1. I don’t expect many comments on this post.

    A dare!

    Well, a couple of things about NYC, or more specifically, Manhattan Island:

    First is geography, or more accurately geology. Manhattan is the intersection of several tectonic plates, with peaks where bedrock is near the surface in several areas, as well as regions where the rock is buried pretty far down. You want to build your skyscrapers anchored to that rock, so you have a few regions where tall buildings reign (up near the GWB, Midtown, down in the Financial district) with low stuff in between. Contrast to a more sprawling urbanity like LA where you’re building on quake prone sand — my brief visits to LA always remind me of New Jersey, it’s like Piscataway times infinity.

    Second is the (justifiably) Draconian NYC fire code. It’s not a coincidence that the five-story brownstone tenement is so iconic to NYC — a combination of the need to be able to evacuate a burning apartment combined with the maximum elevation that municipal water pressure can propel.

    That’s all not to say that there isn’t an invisible (or not so subtle) hand using reality and reasonable safety standards as a cover for more sinister social control. Just a friendly reminder that one presidential candidate has done more than a fair share to raise the mean height of the NY skyline, while the other suggests that we would be better citizens if we could learn to bake in the sun by day, and shiver in a cave by night — on average we’d be just right!

    Comment by Sathar — August 25, 2016 @ 9:52 am - August 25, 2016

  2. If i remember correctly, San Francisco only allow five new residential high-rises to be built a-year — allocated by a lottery or a design competition (I can’t remember which) along with HUUGE impact fees from the winning developers. So there’s both a cost premium and a market-premium for those new units. Other new units can only be built on a unit-for-existing unit “replacement” basis, and most of the residential market is heavily rent-controlled which also exaggerates the costs and exacerbates the unit-availability and unit-turnover rates.

    Other eastern cities like Philadelphia you would probably run-out of high-rise downtown residential bldgs. before you ran-out of fingers and toes.

    I’ve read studies where most people surveyed in US cities were uncomfortable living more that 8-12 stories above the street. And that “comfort” doesn’t manifest itself until you’re 30 stories-and-higher again.

    The other factor is most US Model Building Codes imposed stringent and expensive design and structural requirements once you exceed 20-stories-in-height making them uneconomical except in places like NYC or high-prestige downtown markets where people will pay premium for proximity or view. And many fire departments are frightened of fire-rescues to buildings over 12-stories, so they lobby against them.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — August 25, 2016 @ 10:39 am - August 25, 2016

  3. The small city of Portland Maine is experiencing this. The rents/purchase price is going higher due to demand because of its livability (great beer, good food and the water). The city is now considering rent control and zoning restrictions. It is a very liberal city.

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — August 25, 2016 @ 11:20 am - August 25, 2016

  4. Here in the People’s Republic of Seattle, the City Council and Mayor are pushing free housing for heroin addicts complete with Narcan wielding healthcare personnel so they have “safe spaces to shoot up.” We currently have a similar facility for alcoholics so they can drink in the comfort of their own apartments and not on the streets. The money for these lovely Libtard ideas is funded by property tax hikes. And yes, that’s on top of the money being squeezed out of the good citizens of Seattle “for the children” and their failing/under utilized schools (enrollment are down, but no one is allowed to shutter any schools that are half empty). Seattle is on it’s way to becoming San Fran by Northwest, and soon only the very wealthy and the indigent poor will be the only ones living in the city.

    Comment by runningrn — August 25, 2016 @ 11:42 am - August 25, 2016

  5. There actually is a big gay angle to this as gay marriage started off as a fight to keep rent controlled apartments in NYC(transferred from one dead partner to the next), but not wanting the marriage drawback of getting stuck with your partners medical bills after they die.

    Steve Sailor at UNZ has covered a lot of the tactics the left uses to move demographics around for profit. No one hates another in Sicily like a rent controlled land lord hates his tenants, there are people in NYC paying $58 a month rent, who sublet their spare bedrooms out for big money. Rent control drives up everyone else’s prices A certain tribe of people have offered blacks suitcases full of cash ((($10,000+))) on the deal that they move out.

    San Fran city council even does petty things to get back at exes. I saw somewhere the following law was to shut down one of their exes crafting workshop in his garage.

    Comment by Steve — August 25, 2016 @ 12:04 pm - August 25, 2016

  6. This doesnt make sense. Huge high rises have been going up in LA, NYC and SF for years.

    However they are all ‘luxury’ high rises commanding $3k+ a month for a one bedroom.

    Most of condos were bought by people laundering money from other countries and sit empty. Apartments… well they are running out of people that can pay $3k a month but developers claim thays the only way it pencils out.

    Also because of cheap money and artificially low rates you have an issue of groups buying up previews lower or middle class apartments, upgrading them and then jacking up the rents.

    It’s all starting to hit a wall now as the foreign mone is drying up and landlords are running out of people that can afford million dollar condos and 3k a month rents.

    San Francisco alone has tens of thousands of newly built units coming online. Rents are already dropping there.

    Comment by CH — August 25, 2016 @ 2:04 pm - August 25, 2016

  7. Actually, this ties in with your post on zoning. A lot of the segregation is due to city meddling in deciding where things are supposed to go in a city. That and their meddling in the economics (rent control) has produced some of the highest rents in the world.

    Comment by Craig Smith — August 25, 2016 @ 4:33 pm - August 25, 2016

  8. College gives people the correct opinions on minorities and the means to live as far away from them as possible. – Can’t remember who said that.

    Comment by KCRob — August 25, 2016 @ 7:29 pm - August 25, 2016

  9. The leftoids love them some China (Communism works! See!) and China has a culture even before Mao of pigeon holes, and you stay in you pigeon hole or else!
    Naturally their attempts to emulate their heroes, China, will develop into segregated sectors and damn you if you leave your sector. All in the name of Diversity!
    they keep using that word . . .

    Comment by JPKalishek — August 26, 2016 @ 6:05 am - August 26, 2016

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