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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Market Demand

Let us put a stake in the heart of the idea that sprawl is a market-created phenomenon. Sprawl is a dystopian outcome created by market-distorting regulation. Two specific factors that should be noted are the multi-billion dollar investments in roadway infrastructure, and zoning. (Someday, it would be interesting to suss out exactly how much of the value of suburban land is actually created by transportation investments). Of the two, zoning may actually be the more damaging. Many jurisdictions simply legislate the economically 'highest and best use' of the land (apartments) out of existence. And then compound that problem through the use of minimum lot sizes, so small houses (starter houses, bachelor houses, granny flats) cannot exist. Therefor, there exists not variety in housing types. Think of it as an analogy for stores--"No store of less thant 50,000 SF shall exist". And then no shop smaller than a Wal-Mart could ever be built.