Wednesday, May 7, 2014:
Two excellent, longer pieces to mention today:
Dan Zack writes the fourth in a series on housing affordability. From the opening:
Housing is too expensive in some of America's major metropolitan areas, and something must be done about it. However, it would be a tragic mistake to focus only on the cost of rent, or the sales prices of homes. As we work to bring down housing costs, we also need to make affordable options available in other aspects of people's lives which can offset high rent. There are two primary areas that we should focus on in order to promote affordable living:
He goes on to detail some ideas on reducing household transportation cost and encourage smaller homes. I've written about the former here. This part is particularly enlightening:
... 50% of US household income goes to housing and transportation. It doesn't have to be that way, though. A recent study of 11 Asian nations found that housing and transportation combined consumed just 16% of household budgets in those countries. Even in the US, just 100 years ago transportation accounted for nearly nearly 0% of household budgets.
One effort to address those issues, and make for some great quality of life, is taking place in Atlanta along the Beltline. Rebecca Burns has a long piece on the history of the Beltline, its current popularity and its promise for the future.
What makes the BeltLine potentially so transformative is that, unlike the hundreds of "rails to trails" projects nationwide, it is designed as a transportation project. It will include light rail lines with 45 neighborhood stops and connections to the city's MARTA rail system and the Atlanta Streetcar. "In my mind, it was a transportation plan — and it still is," says Cathy Woolard, who's now an ABI board member. "At the heart it is a plan which orients development toward transportation and encourages density, which Atlanta needs."