Tag Archives: NIMBY

Links: Housing politics, bikes, murder, Vanhawks Valour Smartbikes, teen birthrates, high school graduation rates, marriage patterns, love, and more!

* “Home is where the cartel is,” on the politics of housing, inequality, and many other topics of interest; perhaps I’ve been doing it all wrong for quite some time. This is likely the most important thing you can read and understand today if you’re working on income, poverty, job training, or education, all of which are tremendously affected by land-use issues. Yet this problem is largely under the radar of nonprofits, public agencies, and policy makers. It shouldn’t be.

* “The Financial Benefits of Buying What You Love,” a perhaps underrated point, but how often do you know what you’ll really love before you buy it?

* Afghanistan: ‘A Shocking Indictment’. It’s worse than you think.

* “Steve Radelet has a new book, The Great Surge, about why so many countries have risen out of poverty in the past half century. There are many good things about it, but most of all, it’s the best introduction to development I’ve seen for a lay audience, including students.” Expect a review shortly.

* A video review of the Vanhawks Valour smartbike.

* Teen birthrates drop precipitously. Finally: Some good news!

* “The Marriages of Power Couples Reinforce Income Inequality,” which is, along with land-use controls, an incredibly underreported part of contemporary society and income distribution. Incidentally I contribute to the the power-couple problem while am part of the solution to the land-use-control problem.

* As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short. Let’s see… grad rates go up but grads can’t read or do math. Hmmm. Wonder what that means? Paging Bryan Caplan. See also “Almost No One Knows What Education Really Means, and Implications for the Department of Education’s Talent Search Program.”

* Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance.” Are you there to serve the individuals in government, or is government there to serve you?

* What’s happening in coffee, a fascinating and usually detailed three-part post.

* Why bother drug testing workers when doing so accomplishes nothing?

* “Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are.”

* The refragmentation, by Paul Graham, and by definition any essay he writes is worth reading.

* “Why Some of the Worst Attacks on Social Science Have Come From Liberals.”

* “East Germany thrived on snitching lovers, fickle friends and envious schoolkids.” Read properly, this is also a plea for privacy in the information age.

* Unions may no longer be able to forcibly raid their members’ pockets, though the framing in the article itself is quite different.

February Links: Writing, NIMBYs, Nonprofits-as-startups, Affordable Housing, Baltimore, Washington DC, Washington Monument Syndrome, Porn Star Study and more!

* In Writing, First Do No Harm.

* “The emergence of “YIMBY” [Yes In My Backyard] organizations in American cities would be a welcome counterpoint to the prevailing tides of NIMBYism that often dominate local government. But it is worth saying that broader institutional reforms are what’s really needed.”

* Nonprofit Startups Are Just Like Their Counterparts, according to Paul Graham. We’ve never seen a nonprofit really behave like a startup. Maybe Watsi, the nonprofit featured in the article, will be different.

* Who pays for healthcare also explains why prices are so high. In my view we also spend too much time debating insurance coverage and too little time discussing access to care and how that can be improved.

* “Home craft project: replacing broken laptop screen.” Why haven’t we seen job-skills training programs focused on computer and electronic repair? This may be more viable than Project NUTRIA, but it doesn’t involve small animals.

* From Shlomo Angel’s Planet of Cities:

Like many other observers, such as John Turner (1967) in Latin America, I found that wherever the urban poor could obtain affordable access to minimally serviced land, they could build their own homes and create vibrant communities with little if any support from the government. When free of government harassment and the threat of eviction, their houses would quickly improve over time with their investment of their savings and sweat equity. People could house themselves at the required scale and create many millions of decent homes, while leaving very few people homeless, something that all governments (save that of modern-day Singapore, an outlier on every possible scale) have consistently failed to do. Admitted, the expanding settlements of the poor did not conform to building codes, land subdivision regulations, land use and zoning requirements, or even property rights regimes. (52)

In many jurisdictions, governments nominally devoted to affordable housing prevent its creation. Key words in the above paragraph—”could obtain affordable access to minimally serviced land”—aren’t going to apply to downtown Seattle, or even the downtown Seattle periphery—but the basic idea is an important one. So is the recognition that land use controls in places like New York, Boston, and San Francisco decrease affordability more than any set of programs could increase it. And then there’s Detroit, but that’s another story.

* Baltimore is headed toward bankruptcy. Maybe they need an Outer Harbor to go with the Inner Harbor. Sort of an inni-outti approach to economic development.

* How Washington works: “Many 2011 federal budget cuts had little real-world effect,” and many of the nominal cuts turned out not to be real, by reasonable definitions of “real.”

* “The Dissertation Can No Longer Be Defended,” which makes points that should be obvious to damn near everybody involved in the humanities section of academia.

* “A warning to college profs from a high school teacher,” which is actually about the stakes of student testing.

* New York Times “journalist” John Broder lies in Tesla Motors Model S review, gets called out for it.

Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars;” highly data-driven and should be safe for work.

* “In early childhood education, ‘Quality really matters;’” that’s one reason Head Start doesn’t work particularly well as education right now. But it works okay as day care and pretty well as a jobs program.

* New York real estate: a study in price escalation.

* The Deadly Opposition to Genetically Modified Food;” this is reminiscent of vaccine scares: people have to die before pseudoscience is really attacked.

* “Taking Apprenticeships Seriously,” which we should have started doing a long time ago. College is not the magic answer to every social and economic quandary, as anyone who has taught at a non-elite college should know.

* Government, illustrated: “the cutback is in accord with what Charles Peters of The Washington Monthly used to call the “fireman first” principle. That is, if bureaucrats are told to take $x million out of their budget, they’ll fight back by making cuts where an $x million loss will be most instantly obvious to the public. Like closing the local firehouse — or canceling an air show.” This is also sometimes referred to as the Washington Monument Syndrome. Isaac has seen this in action personally when he was a redevelopment bureaucrat for cities in Southern California.