US cities have a conversion problem, and it’s not just a problem with offices

US cities have a conversion problem, and it's not just a problem with offices

Cities have accumulated more prohibitions, more prescriptions, more addendum tables. more constraints,

“I have a name for building that stuff,” said Phil Wharton, a New York-based developer. “I call it slime.”

There is another part of this story that is not about laws and formal rules, but about the politics and culture that emerged alongside them.

For example, city transportation officials are generally not required by law to hold public meetings for each bike lane or to notify property owners adjacent to each bus route. Cities generally have the power to alter public roads and places for the good of the public. But that’s what usually happens anyway – the neighbors still do not say, or a local politician does, or someone threatens a lawsuit. and the city considers (or Years are wasted trying not to,

These informal forces are often as powerful as legal codes, he said, but can be more difficult to change. Noah Kazis, University of Michigan law professor. Legislators can rewrite a law that limits the density of residential buildings, but it’s a herculean task to uproot the idea that nearby homeowners get to veto density.

This cultural resistance to change (and respect for neighbors) stems partly from the era urban renewal, It also stems from Americans’ growing reliance on housing as a means of wealth creation. The more people rely on rising property values, The more likely they are to withhold change, fearing it might harm them.,

Professor Kazis suggested that as society becomes more prosperous, Americans have also become more conservative about change.

“If you go back 70 years, or 100 years, or 150 years, there was a general understanding that the housing stock or neighborhood design was not good enough. People didn’t have pipelines,” he said. “So how do you fix it may be the question, but whether to fix it or not is not the question. And that’s not true anymore.”

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