Ray Dehn: “We’ve Got To Destroy Affordable Housing To Save It”

If Ray Dehn is elected Mayor of Minneapolis, he will do for “Affordable Housing” in Minneapolis exactly what sixty years of “progressivism” have done for it in Manhattan and Detroit.  Simultaneously.

Brooklyn in the 1970s, after twenty years of “affordable housing” rules.

He released his “affordable housing” plan this week.    And it promises to send more Minneapolitans racing for the ‘burbs”.

Guesses as to Part 1 of the plan?  Please – Dehn is a “progressive”.  It’s got to be “Redistribute Money!”

Increase funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF): With national- and  state-level funding cuts, the city needs a consistent revenue stream to build more affordable housing. As Mayor, I will propose:

  1. Linkage Fees: A fee paid by developers on residential, office, and industrial space per square foot of built space.
  2. Luxury Housing Tax: An tax levied on luxury condos and rental units.
  3. Housing Bond: A city ballot initiative for a housing bond to substantially increase the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Recently, the cities of Portland and Denver have both voted to approve bonds in the amounts $258 million and $150 million, respectively.

Apartments in NYC in the 1970s. Hey, they were rent-controlled!

So in a city business community that is already terrible for business, Dehn will add a perverse incentive to move development to the ‘burbs, and push condos elsewhere.

And for what?  To ape Portland and Denver – where housing is getting scarcer and less affordable, the more their “progressive” governmetns intervene.

Build affordable housing at every income level: We currently build affordable units at 50% AMI, leaving too many families with nowhere to live in the city. The flight of low-income households to first and second ring suburbs also adds to our transportation crisis, where many remain underserved forced to find new ways to commute to work. By requiring additional units be built at 30% AMI or lower, we can limit displacement.

Thus continuing the city’s policy of warehousing the poor.  On the North Side and Phillips, of course.  Not Kenwood or Minnehaha Parkway or Nicollet Island.  Perish the thought.  That’d be too much limiting of displacement.

Implement innovative tax policies like value-capture financing (VCF): VCF distributes the benefits of neighborhood revitalization fairly among all residents, not just landlords by allowing the city to ‘capture’ a portion of the increase in land value. Any increases in property value will be directed into specific funds to be reinvested into the community to fund and preserve affordable housing

Brilliant!  Let’s gut the incentive to improve real estate!

The bad news? You can’t evict anyone no matter what they do. The good news? Eventually they leave on their own.

What’s Dehn’s slogan?  “Keep the North Side Decrepit?”

  1. End exclusionary zoning and implement equitable zoning practices: Exclusionary zoning is rooted in the legacy of discriminatory practices around housing in our city. It has been utilized as a tool to keep low-income families and POCI out of middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. A solution to increasing density in our city is building more affordable units to foster mixed-income neighborhoods.
    1. Pass an inclusionary zoning ordinance: This incentivizes developers to build a certain percentage of affordable units in market-rate projects. With the housing gap, it is both fair and appropriate to expect new development to contribute to the solution.
    2. Re-zone neighborhood interiors: Encourage the development of mid-size construction in neighborhood interiors. We will need to up zone some single-family homes into duplex and triplexes.

In other words, saddle all development with a requirement to build multi-unit housing, market be damned.

  1. Expand funding for community land trusts: Community land trusts are nonprofit, community-led organizations which purchase land and enter into long-term renewable leases with renters and homeowners. They allow low- and moderate-income people build wealth, and create permanently affordable housing.

Also known as “transferring public money to the city’s DFL political class”.   These “non-profits” are the DFL’s graft machine.

Dehn knows where his bread is buttered, anyway.

  1. Increase funding for limited-equity housing cooperatives: Minneapolis currently has 34 registered housing cooperatives. Limited-equity cooperatives are housing arrangements controlled by the tenants who reside in the building. The resale value of units is limited by the cooperative’s rules to preserve affordability. Currently, the biggest barrier to forming cooperatives is the overhead price. In order to overcome this, we must dedicate funds to assist residents in purchasing a cooperative.

Economics 101:  when you force someone to pay something other than what they would on their own, “unintended” consequences are inevitable.

  1. Implement Tenants’ Right of First Refusal: Requires an owner putting a property on the market to first present the tenant’s with the option to pool their resources and buy the property. The new owners can then either form a cooperative and elect a board of directors, or resell the property on their own timeline.

Yet another bureaucratic hoop to hop through, yet another disincentive to buy, improve and develop rental properties.

  1. Form a Minneapolis Renters’ Commission: Create a commission comprised of housing advocates and low-income renters. This will be an institutional mechanism for renters to advocate on behalf of their own interests, advise the City Council and Mayor on housing policy, and conduct education and outreach to the city’s renters.

More graft, more DFL sinecures.

  1. Oppose preemption on rent control: Currently, the state of Minnesota does not allow cities to enact rent control policies. Fighting to change this policy will benefit residents of Minneapolis.

Rent control nearly extinguished the supply of “affordable housing” in all five boroughs of New York.

  1. Pass a just-cause eviction ordinance: Reduces landlord’s ability to evict residents to certain reasons (e.g failure to pay rent, violating the terms of the lease, etc)

On the one hand, Minneapolis will penalize developers and landlords for improving their property, make it impossible to evict tenants who are destroying or economically dragging the property, and making it harder to sell the damn thing to get the hell out of Minneapolis.

Detroit today. NoMi in 20-30 years under Dehn’s policies. SoMi down to the forties not long after that.

I smell a wave of apartment arson coming up.

  1. Utilize policies to help residents mitigate and erase eviction records: Nearly 50% of renters in the Northside zipcodes 55411 and 55412 have experienced eviction filing in the past three years, further increasing barriers to renting and homeownership.

In other words, make one of the few tools small landlords have completely useless.

  1. Enact inclusionary financing models to make housing more environmentally friendly: A mechanism for low-income renters and owners to participate in energy efficiency and clean energy without upfront cost, a loan from the bank, home ownership, or a credit score.

So – warping the model for lending money to borrowers with dubious credit histories?

When has that ever blown up causing immense misery?

  1. Fight for funding restoration for Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA): The MPHA is currently operating on a $127 million shortfall, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Trump administration is planning to cut the funding for public housing even deeper.

“We want more graft, and we want taxpayers nationwide to pay for it”.

But let’s set aside the graft for a minute.

In the fifties and sixties, New York City implemented policies that were broadly similar – rent control, gains taxes on development, absurdly bureaucratic eviction processes, yadda yadda.

Rent control meant landlords’ income from existing property was strictly limited.  Eviction laws meant that the consequences for skipping rent or trashing property could be delayed for months, sometimes years.  Gains taxes were easily absorbed or loopholed by the wealthy, but catastrophic for the small and mid-sized landlord.

As a result, by the seventies Manhattan was unaffordable to the middle class, while entire square miles of Brookliyn, the Bronx and Queens were full of vacant, burned out buildings that had once been actual, affordable housing before the landlords gave up.   And as NYC’s fortunes turned around under competent Republican leadership, the gans taxes ensured that only the wealthy could afford to build or improve properties in the formerly distressed neighborhoods.

So today, thanks to “affordable housing efforts” over the past three generations, Manhattan and most of the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn across the East River from it are unaffordable to anyone that’s not well into six figures, and the poor have to commute in from the Rockaways and New Jersey.

And the polices that have made Detroit, Oakland, Saint Louis, Camden, Newark, Baltimore, Los Angeles and a slew of other cities simultaneously unaffordable to the poor and overflowing with abandoned buildings?  Substantially the same.

It’s a series of stupid decisions.

You just know Minneapolis will vote for it, don’t you?

64 thoughts on “Ray Dehn: “We’ve Got To Destroy Affordable Housing To Save It”

  1. I’ve lived in Highland Park for 26 years and I’m looking to get out of St Paul and Ramsey county. St Paul is not far behind Mpls in this type of thinking.

  2. It makes no sense to charge a luxury tax on rental units – that merely passes the cost to the tenant. It makes more sense to charge a luxury tax on homes along Lake Calhoun. Go for it, Ray!

  3. My wife and I own some rental properties in a suburb. When we were looking to invest a few years ago we quickly eliminated buying anything in Minneapolis and St. Paul – and that was a few years ago. There’s just no way you can justify investing your life savings with the policies in place then, and they’ve only gotten worse.

    Btw, the State of MN has very strong laws that protect renters; as former renters ourselves we understand the value of some of these. As landlords, we also know the risks and expenses involved in having “bad” tenants. We don’t have the operating cushion to absorb that type of situation so we hire a company to screen prospective tenants, in particular their rental histories. So far all of our applicants have checked out and we’ve had good experience. But when a relative (in another state) bemoaned how hard it was for their offspring, just starting out, to find a place to live because the landlords wouldn’t “give them a chance” and seemed awful proud of their properties, I showed them them the cost and ongoing exposures and liabilities incumbent upon the landlords and what one “bad” tenant can do. “Taking a chance” is fine when you’re betting $5 or even a few hundred; it’s not the same when it’s tens of thousands.

    Sure, if you don’t like the risks, don’t be a landlord. We’ve weighed the risks and tried to find the best way through for us and for our tenants. We have units in up-to-date, well-managed buildings with stable associations, and our rents are in the lower range for the market, and we’ve foregone larger rent increases in favor of keeping good tenants, A young friend of ours works for a major insurance company that is moving its offices to Manhattan. She was one of those tapped to come along. A small raise is included, but doesn’t begin to cover the higher living expenses. It’s an exciting opportunity for a young, single person, though so she accepted. She looked at renting in Far, Far Rockaway and other places but then was lucky to find a place in Manhattan for $200 a month less than what we get for a 3-bdrm. Yay! What she gets for that, however, is an 8 x 9 bedroom with just enough space for a single bed and dresser, and “access” to the living room and kitchen. But she’s living in Manhattan, baby!

  4. I’d say anyone would be crazy to invest a dime in Mpls, the city has been going down in a death spiral for +50 years.

  5. We have a political system (at all levels of government) that punishes policy makers for asking:
    1) Has this been tried before?
    2) Did it achieve the desired ends? Why or why not?
    3) What were the unforeseen results (there are always unforeseen results)?

  6. Closing the deal on our last piece of property in MN this week. Cost us $12,000 to fix the damage from our last renters and took a $5k loss on the price we paid for it. Still, we’re ecstatic to be out, completely.

    Y’all enjoy yourselves.

  7. The plan is full of trigger words. Dehn is a shoe in. Sorry guys, sucks to be you who still live in the Twin Cities.

  8. Swiftee, A very good friend of mine just sold his last rental property in the city. Over many years he’d buy distressed properties there, fix them up and rent them out. He dumped the multiple houses he had because they were a headache to keep up and the city was a constant pain in his ass. He made very little on his investment of time and money when he finally did sell them.

    Not unlike your experience he had to make substantial expensive repairs (renter damage) on the last place and was lucky to break even when he sold it. He too is ecstatic to be done with the city altogether.

  9. You and your neighbors buy houses in a crappy neighborhood, invest time and money to build sweat equity, the neighborhood improves, your houses are worth more than you paid. Congratulations, you made money, it’s the American Dream. But wait! Ray’s taking some of that value through Value-Capture Financing. We take your equity and hand it out to people who didn’t life a finger to invest time and money to build sweat equity. Because that’s more fair, somehow, I guess?

  10. “It makes no sense to charge a luxury tax on rental units – that merely passes the cost to the tenant.”

    Government is ultimately regressive. It is a scam.

    People can’t think this stuff though.

  11. We take your equity and hand it out to people who didn’t life a finger to invest time and money to build sweat equity. Because that’s more fair, somehow, I guess?

    But of course, JD! The people who didn’t life a finger are your constituency. Theirs is the vote which can be bought. And so it more fair, for you are the only one who knows what is best for the little people.

    BTW, the part of the plan about increasing urban density and reversing flight to the burbs? Pure soci@lism. It worked so well everywhere it had been tried.

  12. “Reversing flight to the suburbs”; because it’s not like people have been desiring to get out of the big city for as long as the big city has existed or anything. Nobody wants a bit of fresh air or open space, after all.

    (friend of mine actually lives in a 1930s era cabin built as a refuge from Minneapolis…it’s been expanded a touch, but this isn’t exactly anything new)

    Really, the new urbanists need to contemplate how many people actually can live well in the city, and then design their policies for that. I am guessing that with larger expectations for living space and smaller families, that they’re right about at the limit. Increase it much, and you’re just asking for gridlock.

    The only thing you might do is to reduce needless services and taxation, and then maybe young families with a single wage-earner would again choose to live in the city–if you’ve got two income families living in most of the city, you simply have twice the daily drivers that the roads are intended to handle. But of course, reducing the cost of living and actually doing what needs to be done to get good schools is not on the agenda.

  13. Change the zoning ordinance to make it possible for developers to build low-income housing in nice neighborhoods. Give incentives for them to do it.

    Another great idea, parrots an Obama initiative, obviously should begin with Lake of the Isles and Kenwood. Go For It, Ray!

  14. Just Cause Eviction. Good idea – that will make it much harder for landlords to cut their noses off to spite their faces. Because that’s what landlords do when they evict tenants for no reason.

    Look, Ray, I was a landlord for 15 years. I never wanted to evict a tenant – I wanted them to keep paying the rent because I needed that money to pay the mortgage, insurance, taxes, fees, maintenance . . . the landlord’s worst nightmare is having to hire a lawyer to evict a tenant, fight the inevitable Legal Aid lawyer’s discrimination claims, spend money to rehab the apartment to make it fit to live in, let it sit empty until I can find a replacement tenant, all paid for out of my salary from my day job. Just Cause makes it harder to get rid of problem tenants meaning I’m that much more choosy about who I rent to, which makes it harder for marginal tenants to find housing.

    Wiping out eviction court records doesn’t make the tenant a better prospect, it hides the best evidence of their rental history. If I can’t depend on eviction court records to screen out bad tenants, then I’ll have to find substitute criteria: I won’t rent to anybody who doesn’t have a favorable reference from the last landlord; has a low credit score; lived in a bad neighborhood; drives a tricked-out car; has a child by a baby-daddy who’s in prison; has tattoos. No, they’re not perfect predictors – that would be eviction records – but when you take away, what’s left?

  15. You got one part wrong: “In other words, saddle all development with a requirement to build multi-unit housing, market be damned.” Certainly B. “Re-zone neighborhood interiors” allows but does not require multi-unit housing. It is a permissive change that gives private property owners more freedom to build on the land they own. Even A. “Pass an inclusionary zoning ordinance” improves the status quo by allowing private land owner to build more projects, if they meet certain requirements. While the value of the mandates are debatable they at least allow more construction than the status quo. Both of these changes reduce government control over private land and allow owners to meet market demand if they want to.

  16. One way to reverse the flight to the suburbs would be to improve the Minneapolis Public Schools. The next move by the City Council is to make it illegal to flunk any students. That’ll fix it.

  17. “The next move by the City Council is to make it illegal to flunk any students. That’ll fix it.”

    The legislature abolished graduation testing in 2014. The graduation spiked up!

    For one year.

  18. ” . . . reduce government control over private land . . . .”


    It simply changes the way the government will allow you to use your own land.

  19. This kind of crap is popular in reprobate strongholds because the moochers see More Free Stuff!, and the SJW’s don’t own property that can be devalued.

    The elite reprobates in the exclusive neighborhoods are running the show, and until and unless the decay starts affecting their property values through proximity to the rubble the moochers have made they are happy as clams.

    And even when they are forced to de-camp at a loss for leafier environs, it’s a tax write-off.

    It’s Joe and Jill (or Joe and Joe) bleeding heart liberal, who moved right into the heart of the hood because Diversity!, and invested $150k into rehabbing their house that take it in the shorts.

  20. Regarding multi-unit housing, if you look at the old deeds and such, you’ll find that in most areas, each neighborhood was developed as its own subdivision, just like today. So if the city goes in and rezones it for multi-unit dwellings, it is in fact “taking” from the owners of the neighborhood. The owners might not even have known about the old neighborhood covenants, and some of them might be illegal now (like my grandfather’s cemetery was originally only for white Gentiles), but it still is a taking.

    And yes, a taking, as the kind of rental properties I remember Rick endorsing (e.g. ten stories with no parking if I remember right) are a distinct negative in any neighborhood. The building shades your home until noon (good luck gardening), creates “wind tunnels”, window washers and painters are dropping stuff on your property, and finally there is the reality that a lot of low income families are that way for a reason. Trailer parks or large, run down apartment buildings are as big a turn-off for home buyers as large hog barns.

  21. This is micro-communism to solve a federal problem: too much Fed easy money and never ending ***2%*** GDP. i.e. for too many, opportunity is not keeping pace with the cost of living jacked up by statist stupidity.

    After the bond market collapse we will all get a Mises-ian utopia the hard way.

  22. I lived first hand through the experience in “68 when the race riots burnt Plymouth avenue in Mpls. What was referred to as the projects in the day where trashed, and business (many Jewish) were destroyed and they left for better places which resulted in a vacuum in the community. That part of town was years in recovery, if it can be said it ever did recover. Dehn seems to want to recreate a utopia which sounds to me like the past failures of the likes of Cabrini Green in Chicago. Good luck with that! I’m wondering if Dehn is serious in his thoughts or if he really is still addled with the his years of coke addiction? Given his socialist dribble I might think he’s still high.

  23. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 08.15.17 : The Other McCain

  24. Joe: “It simply changes the way the government will allow you to use your own land” What is the difference? If after the change a property owner can build things that were previously prohibited by law (either in all cases or after certain conditions are met), how has that not reduced the power of government? The power is not eliminated, but it is certainly reduced.

  25. BB: If the government blocks me from building a 10 story building on my property why doesn’t that count as a “taking” from me and also as a “taking” from all of the families that could live there? Why does the government pick what to build instead of letting private property owners decide? If you don’t like living next to my tall building you can move somewhere else.

  26. RickDFL, if the speed limit is 55 and they raise it to 60, has the power of the government been reduced? No. They still control how fast I can drive, changeable at their whim.

    A regulatory taking is not compensable only because the courts decided it would be a nuisance to compensate people for it. There’s nothing in the Constitution that empowers the government to steal small amounts of value from citizens without paying for it. That’s a made-up rule invented by the courts, an example of judicial activism like the wording of the Miranda decision, stripping the pre-born of all rights, overturning centuries of marriage law . . . .

  27. Rick: you want to build that ten story building without parking, you pay the people that don’t get any sunlight, the people who can’t park their cars anymore, and the people whose car insurance rates go up because there are more criminals in the area. The neighborhood was developed as single family residential, so if you want to change it, you persuade and compensate people who will be affected.

    Never mind that they’re an idiotic idea, really. You separate parents from children by ten stories, blow a ton of money on elevators, pilings, and reinforced concrete, create firetraps and places for gang violence….what’s to like?

  28. Joe: By your logic cutting the tax rate in half, does not reduce the power of government because they still collect taxes and could increase the rate. There is clear difference between reducing the power of government and eliminating it, why you choose to conflate the two is beyond me.

    BB: The whole point of markets is that they are risky and conditions change. Why should government preserve the original conditions of my real estate investment? Suppose I but a house near my favorite coffee shop, but the owner wants to start selling hamburgers? Should the government force him to continue selling coffee or pay more for the loss of my local coffee shop?

    If they are such an “idiotic idea” why do you need the state to make them illegal?

  29. If they are such an “idiotic idea” why do you need the state to make them illegal?

    Because some idiot with more dollars than sense will try it. Duh. Especially if there’s federal money in it. Just ask the former residents of Cabrini Green, the Robert Taylor Homes, Pruitt-Igoe, and a whole bunch of other places. It’s called “externalities”.

  30. There is no zoning in Houston. And life goes on. People just use common sense. You know, common sense does exist in places other then MN. And in the case of MN and Dehn, it is not about zoning or common sense, but about a yet another attempt at social engineering. Yet another attempt which is doomed to fail. Like I said, Dehn used every trigger word and employed every dog whistle. The fact that Rinky(+/-)DinkFL joined the discussion on Dehn’s side proves this point.

  31. RickDFL: Repealing the 16th Amendment would reduce the power of government. Retaining the power to tinker with rates does not. Why is that hard to understand?

  32. JPA: The only part of Dehn’s plan I am defending is the part that would make zoning laws Minneapolis less restrictive and move in the direction of Houston.

  33. Rick, that could end up being the worst of both worlds. You get permission to ignore the externalities without anything to prevent the guys who built Cabrini Green and related projects from repeating their folly. You loosen building codes after you prevent people from siphoning off public funds for a monument to themselves, not before.

  34. Point taken. However, while it works in Houston, it will not work in MSP. Because lack of zoning had been the norm for umpteen years in Houston, people had adjusted the entire infrastructure around it. This is why Houston is made up of planned communities so a refinery cannot be built next to a housing development. What Dehn proposes is introducing a new concept to the community which has no idea nor experience how to use it. Also, he wants it done within a confined space, Houston grew by adhering and exploiting the concept. Two absolutely different circumstances. Again, while it works in Houston, it will not work in MSP.

  35. BB: Cabrini Greens was a public housing project which gave (very bad) housing to people who could not afford it. The purpose of relaxing the zoning laws is to allow the construction of private housing. In fact, my left-wing friends complain they will all be luxury condos.

  36. JPA: You are correct that high-density housing would tax current infrastructure, but I have faith in the market to regulate that. Just because you relax the zoning and allow more private construction of multi-family housing, does not mean it will immediately get built. If the road/parking congestion gets too bad, people won’t want to live/move/build there. Private builders, lenders, and buyers are very sensitive to these issues. In addition, if the population grows under relaxed zoning we can build more infrastructure or transit alternatives. Parking gets scarce, some private developer buys a house and replaces it with with a parking garage. Roads get crowded, the government widens a road or puts in a few extra bus lines. Give people to build what they want on private land and the private/public infrastructure will follow.

  37. Rick, the problem with Cabrini-Green was not that the building was substandard–they were decent basic reinforced concrete buildings like you’ll see all around Chicago. Little lower on the high end amenities, yes, but nowhere near as bad as some of the row houses where people had been living.

    The issue with the place was that when you get 8-10 stories tall, you separate parents from their kids–and that, along with long corridors and no clear lines of sight, made it a gangster’s playground, and with pilings and all, an incredibly expensive one to boot.

    You need to weigh your proposal in light not of single people in the professions and DINKs, but in light of families. And in light of families, it simply can’t work.

  38. The purpose of relaxing the zoning laws is to allow the construction of private housing

    I will give you a benefit of the doubt and will try again. Because of all the other issues with Dehn’s plan, no private developer in their right mind would build anything. The only people building will be “friends and family” of the corrupt leftist politicos in legislature resulting in Cabrini Green light. Precisely because that is where the “friends and family” stand to get the most subsidies and money from the MN taxpayer to line their pockets so they can afford to live on Lake Calhoun and Minnetonka without fear of being overrun by the unwashed. If you think there will be any semblance of “free market” in building out zoning-free tracts, this conversation is over.

  39. BB: Cabrini Greens was a disaster because it was exclusively subsidized public housing which meant everyone who lived there was poor and no one had an ownership stake or even a rental reputation at stake. There is nothing inherently socially dysfunctional about tall buildings. Some of the most expensive homes full of the world’s highest achievers are in tall residential complexes in major cities. Others are full of perfectly ordinary middle class folks. And nothing prevents single family residence neighborhoods from being dangerous.

  40. JPA: If “no private developer in their right mind would build anything” then why do we need the zoning laws to prevent it from happening? Far from being subsidized, builders are actually eager to set aside a certain % of there units as below-market just to free themselves from the zoning restrictions. In effect, they are willing to pay a premium for the right to build more densely. If developers were not eager to build we wouldn’t have these huge NIMBY fights every time local government considers granting them a waiver.
    But if you want to relax zoning rules for exclusively market rate private construction, I would take that deal.

  41. Rick, the simple fact of the matter is that high rise buildings don’t work for most families because of two words mothers have been saying since antiquity:

    “Play outside”

    Think about it a moment. In this basic regard, high rise flats are worse than the old tenements, though they could be deathtraps, too.

  42. BB: Kids is a high rise buildings can play outside just as easily as kids in single family homes. In fact, for a fixed area of land and a given number of people, there will be far more undeveloped room outside to play if more of the people live in high rise buildings.

  43. Rick, I’m guessing you’re childless, as good mothers tend to want to watch their children at play, even if it’s from the kitchen window. When Chicago’s high rise tenements like C-G went up, that was one of the big complaints. Same thing at Robert Taylor, Pruitt-Igoe, and even the 12 story flats that replaced tenements in Everton, England. (really all over England, this was the compliant) It transcends nationality and even race.

    Stop endorsing expensive, anti-family housing as a “solution” to urban woes. We’ve been trying it for 70 years and it has yet to work.

  44. Sigh. As I suspected. But then I am at fault thinking that a person how does not know what plus/minus means would be capable of understanding the intricacies of zoning, free market and subsidies. All we got back is defense of Urban paradise of childless couples and starbucks on every street corner.

  45. BB: We have’t been “trying” is for 70 years. We have for most of that time and in most of America, been making it illegal through zoning. Yes, large scale subsidized public housing is usually awful, almost always because it concentrates the poor and magnifies social dysfunction. But the world if full of prosperous and middle class high density housing, where it is allowed. And if it was “expensive” you wouldn’t need zoning laws to make it illegal.

  46. JPA: “All we got back is defense of Urban paradise of childless couples and starbucks on every street corner.” Where? How do parents not benefit from the option of high-density housing if they want it? Are there no families living in the New York or Paris? Even if no parents live in high density housing, doesn’t the increased supply benefit them through lower costs. Suburban single family homes are cheaper if you don’t force the urban hipsters to live there by limiting the urban supply.
    Back to the basic question everyone seems to avoid: Should private builders and buyers be allowed to build higher density housing on more of the land where it is currently prohibited?

  47. doesn’t the increased supply benefit them through lower costs

    Ever check cost of housing for those New York and Paris flats? Get back to us when you do. Take your time. Please. Oh, and last time I checked, and hate to bring you the sad, sad news, MSP is not NYC nor Paris. And NEVER will be. Oh, and last time I checked there are no urban hipsters living in suburbia, by definition.

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