6 Ways to Free Up Land for Desperately Needed Housing

Staff | Macro Insider

The McLean station of Metro's Silver Line on June 23 in McLean, Virginia.Completely good lots are not being created for houses, even although hundreds of millions of people today worldwide live in houses that are unsafe, inadequate, or barely inexpensive, says a new report by McKinsey International Institute. Even in densely populated New York City, the report says, one of each and every 10 acres of land zoned for residential development is vacant. “Unlocking land provide at the appropriate place is the most vital step in providing reasonably priced housing,” the report’s authors create.

Land may well be affordable and plentiful in rural locations, but in the cities that the globe is flocking to it’s “not uncommon” for land expenses to exceed 40 % of house prices—and they’re as much as 80 % in some massive cities, the study says. Regardless of the high rates that landowners can fetch, parcels aren’t coming onto the industry for development simply because of such factors as “fragmented or public ownership, poor land records, and regulations and zoning laws that discourage improvement.”

Surveying the globe, the report’s authors found six practices that cities have followed to no cost up lots for housing where it is needed most:

Transit-oriented improvement: Over the previous 4 decades Hong Kong has added 1.4 million houses in the New Territories, across the harbor from Kong Island, most of them close to rail and metro stations. When land prices go up since of new transit, the government captures aspect of the achieve and uses it to spend for infrastructure and reasonably priced housing. Read more


A Studied Response to the ‘Too Many Cars’ Claim Against TOD

Patrick Sisson | Chicago Curbed

Montrose Green development for 1819 W MontroseA complaint often lodged against transit-oriented development projects is that dense new multi-story buildings will always results in more cars, increasing neighborhood congestion. But perhaps that isn’t the full story. In a studied and lengthy response to similar grievances about the Montrose Green development proposal, Streetsblog crunched some numbers. The five-story building’s ratio of tenants-to-parking spaces would be in line with neighborhood averages, while transportation trends suggest the number of people driving regularly will continue to decrease.

Vehicle counts on Montrose, between Western and Ashland, show 42 percent fewer cars (5,000 cars per day) between 2006 and 2010, the most recent data available. Car traffic also declined by 23 percent, or 2,400 cars, on Damen across Montrose. Since then, citywide miles driven people have continued to fall, dropping by 4.4 percent between 2010 and 2013.

In addition, other studies suggested that parking needs are often over-estimated, while nearby residents at a recent hearing about the building said a structure like this next to an ‘L’ stop actually makes the entire neighborhood less car-dependent by adding more walkable dining and retail options. Read more


Residents excited for CTfastrak busway to open

Erica Schmitt | Newington Town Crier


The McLean station of Metro's Silver Line on June 23 in McLean, Virginia.If the turnout at the town’s CTfastrak open house Monday night was any indication, Newington residents are anxious for the busway to open this coming March.

The state Department of Transportation is hosting 10 different open houses at locations across central Connecticut this month through January.

People flooded Newington High School for Monday’s event to learn more about bus routes and planning specific trips.

“It’s a really good crowd tonight; it seems like there’s a lot of interest,” said Sara Radasci, a DOT transportation planner.

“I think people are just trying to figure out which route goes where,” added Radasci, who spent the evening passing out pamphlets outlining each route and its scheduled stop times by day of the week.

The CTfastrak webpage, CTfastrak.com, will soon feature a trip planner for people to use. They will be able to search for the best route by their desired starting and ending locations.

“I work part-time for the Salvation Army on the Berlin Turnpike, and we’re looking to get a bus stop there,” said Gary Bolles, a town resident who attended Monday’s event. Read more

Public Transportation and the Path Dependency of Virginia Highway Investments

Kevin DeGood | Center for American Progress

The McLean station of Metro's Silver Line on June 23 in McLean, Virginia.

The McLean station of Metro’s Silver Line on June 23 in McLean, Virginia.

Major public transportation investments can be transformative—reshaping communities, spurring economic development, and improving mobility. The new Metro Silver Line in Northern Virginia, which is an extension of the existing Washington, D.C., subway system, represents a major investment that will reshape the region for decades to come. Yet, the evolution from initial operations to a completed system that fully delivers on promised benefits takes many years and is not guaranteed.

Prior transportation investments and land-use decisions create a path dependency that often limits future change. Realizing the full potential of transit investments therefore requires a sustained political commitment to support development projects that increase ridership and offer an alternative to driving for all mobility needs.

When elected officials advocate for major transportation investments, they often promote a vision of a fully built-out rail system and communities that have grown and matured around each station. After all, accommodating future population growth and reducing roadway travel demand are important reasons for building these big projects. However, new rail lines don’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, they must operate within the existing built environment that was designed with the exclusive goal of moving cars at high speeds. And the challenges don’t stop with prior roadway investments. Read more


Seattle invests $22 million in affordable housing

Jason Kelly | Washington RealEstateRama

The $24 million fund will be used to finance property acquisition and pre-development loans for developers creating and preserving affordable homes along transit corridors such as RTD's West Rail Line from downtown Denver to Golden.Today Mayor Ed Murray announced $22 million for the development and preservation of affordable housing in Seattle. The long-term loans through the Office of Housing will support the City’s priorities of reducing homelessness, supporting transit-oriented development and providing options for families of all incomes to live in Seattle.

“Through our partnerships with the non-profit community, we are building a better reality for hundreds of families and individuals,” said Murray. “Today we’re taking another step to reduce homelessness that is a biting reality on our sidewalks and we’re making families’ dreams of affordable homes come true.”

The $22 million announced today will be loaned to housing developers to build and preserve rent- and income-restricted apartments affordable to our city’s low-income residents:

- Mercy Othello Plaza: Mercy Housing’s project at the Othello light rail station will house 108 low-income families in a mix of units, including 62 two and three bedroom apartments. ($8.5 million in City funding) Read more

Fund for affordable housing in transit-oriented developments to expand beyond Denver

Molly Armbrister | Denver Business Journal

The $24 million fund will be used to finance property acquisition and pre-development loans for developers creating and preserving affordable homes along transit corridors such as RTD's West Rail Line from downtown Denver to Golden.Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other dignitaries gathered Tuesday to launch an expansion of the Denver Transit-Oriented Development Fund for affordable homes, a $24 million endeavor.

The fund, which was created to operate within the city of Denver, will expand to include the seven-county metro area.

The $24 million fund will be used to finance property acquisition and pre-development loans for developers creating and preserving affordable homes along transit corridors in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

Enterprise Community Partners Inc. and Enterprise Community Loan Fund Inc. announced the expansion Tuesday, with Hancock on hand. Enterprise is an affordable-housing advocate headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with an office in Denver that led the effort to expand the fund.

“Both the geographic and capital expansion of the Denver TOD Fund will enable us to better create opportunity for Denver metro area residents as we connect affordable homes to transit, jobs, good schools, and health care,” said Lori Chatman, president of Enterprise Community Loan Fund. Read more


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