Tuesday, August 3, 2010
With fewer and fewer Americans able to obtain a mortgage, more are turning toward rentals. Unfortunately, as this article shows, the stigma of rental units is so bad that it can undermine even what little development opportunity still exists in the current economic downturn.
The author asks two important questions (and follows with an astute observation):
[I]f city after city continues to shoot down economically viable rental housing projects, where exactly we are going to accommodate the expected growth in this country in the coming decades? Furthermore, why are cash-strapped cities passing up economic development opportunities? I’m all for local decision-making, but the result of these decisions, multiplied across our metro areas, simply pushes more growth to the urban fringe — an ecologically and economically wasteful choice.
Rather than treat rental units as some sort of plague (an oh-so-very retro-Euclid way of thinking), cities should consider how they can better regulate rental development in the new real estate paradigm that the Great Recession has brought. The option of "just saying no" to rentals neglects both the reality of the future need for non-mortgaged housing and the fallacy that rentals cannot be well done from a design and planning perspective.
--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.