Episode from the podcastAnarchitecture

ana030: The ABC's of Market Urbanism | Scott Beyer Interview

Released Friday, 26th June 2020
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"Market Urbanism is the intersection of urban issues and free market philosophy."

We interview Scott Beyer of the Market Urbanism Report to introduce the ideas of Market Urbanism and discuss a broad sweep of issues in housing, transportation, and governance.

Use hashtag #ana030 to reference this episode in a tweet, post, or comment

View full show notes at http://anarchitecturepodcast.com/ana030.

Intro

  • Contrition


  • Joe's urbanism crash course


  • Tim met some OG Market Urbanists


  • Scott Beyer and the Market Urbanism Report


  • Demystifying urbanist jargon


  • Market Urbanists are down in the trenches


  • We are explicitly ideological, Scott is more pragmatic


  • Urban issues have a natural affinity for libertarian solutions - becuase they work


  • Three broad categories - Housing, Transportation, and Governance


  • The Anarchitecture Podcast All-Star Game (details in links below)




Discussion

  • What is Market Urbanism?
    • Cross between free-market policy and urban issues


    • Theory - how would decentralized private cities work?


    • Practical set of policy reforms


    • Market oriented reforms




  • How did Scott get interested in these ideas?
    • Living in cities, interested in urban issues


    • Why are projects hard to get approved?


    • Why do downtowns empty out at 5PM?


    • Research led to more libertarian understanding


    • Influential writers
      • MarketUrbanism.com


      • Jane Jacobs


      • Ed Glaeser






  • We see urbanism as a conduit to bring libertarian / free market ideas to a broader audience
    • People think of cities as complex infrastructure managed by big government


    • A more granular look is more libertarian - the "Street Ballet" of voluntary exchange


    • "When cities follow that libertarian impulse, they do really well."


    • Nobody has planned the allocation of specific businesses and residences




  • Housing
    • Market Urbanism approach - a free-flowing, unregulated, market-oriented process


    • Theory - How would cities develop under a free market?


    • Practical - specific problems and policies in cities


    • Restrictive Zoning
      • Single Family Zoning in hot markets


      • San Francisco - around 75% zoned for single family or duplex


      • "The city cannot change."


      • Setback Requirements


      • Lot Coverage Requirements


      • Parking Minimums


      • Density Requirements


      • Minimum Lot Size - an historic 6-unit building restricted to 2 units




    • Counterintuitive zoning - do the planning boards even understand these impacts?
      • The empty husk - 8-story building limited to 12 units means the units will be large and unaffordable


      • No, they don't understand




    • What has motivated zoning requirements?
      • Early 20th century; cities grew using a combination of private deed restrictions and municipal zoning


      • Racism and classism - "they thought that was a good thing!"


      • Separating industry from housing


      • Euclid v. Amber - "Euclidean Zoning"


      • Late 20th century; more subjective and aesthetic, more complex




    • Do cities have a responsibility to preserve property values?
      • No - zoning should not be a protection for special interests


      • The irony - absent the regulations, property values would increase


      • MUH CHARACTER OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD


      • If a potential buyer can subdivide my lot, that increases my property value - capturing the location value twice




    • Policy success - "by-right" incremental development allowed in some states


    • ADU - Accessory Dwelling Unit; an additional unit on a single family property
      • Attached: basement apartment


      • Detached: backyard cottage, granny flat


      • "We won't build proper housing for the Millenials, but we'll put them in the basement."


      • ADU - a fiction created by zoning ordinances - the state taketh, then giveth back but a mere morsel


      • It's better than nothing, but we need new housing




    • Filtering
      • The more new houses you build, the cheaper old houses become (in elastic markets)




    • Gentrification
      • Less than 10% of people get displaced, and relocate to a similar quality neighborhood (see links below)


      • Existing owners tend to benefit from positive externalities


      • Middle ground - allow the new developments, give housing vouchers


      • You can't prevent neighborhoods from changing




    • Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) - "Rent Control 2.0"
      • Allow developers to build to a certain level if they allocate a percentage of "Affordable" units


      • IZ tends to reduce the overall supply of housing by making projects less feasible






  • Transportation
    • Theory - Can a market provide sufficient transit efficiency?


    • Examples of privatizated transport
      • Mexico City - Paseros - "The Uber of Driving!"


      • Uber - The Paseros of America




    • "Who will build the roads?"
      • Alain Bertaud - Order Without Design - Does the government need to build key infrastructure?


      • Right-of-ways in developed places


      • Brightline High Speed Rail (HSR) - Miami to Fort Lauderdale


      • Proposed bullet trains hitting right of way issues


      • Acela train - slows down through every Connecticut NIMBY town


      • Trade-offs between nuisances and benefits


      • Direct negotiations vs. government mediated negotiations


      • Coase Theorem - if you want to obstruct development, you need to pay for that right


      • Pigouvian tax


      • Mitigation rather than obstruction


      • If you live in NYC, you should expect tall buildings around you


      • High speed rail can increase property values - sell it for a windfall and move away from the nuisance




    • Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
      • Value capture - train companies own and develop surrounding land plots to fund the rail


      • In USA, regulatory hurdles prevent TOD


      • For state owned transit agencies, there is no profit motive to develop




    • How do you manage a complex street grid?
      • Pricing different uses; NO FREE PARKING


      • Bus operators could out-bid cars for street space


      • Privatizing public space


      • Market pricing for street space could entice further investment




    • Pricing sidewalks and curb space
      • Buses and bike share could carve out their spaces


      • Scattered scooters - tragedy of the commons


      • Prohibition and monopoly contracts for scooters




    • There is no free parking
      • No market incentive to build a small commercial garage


      • Charge market rates for on-street parking


      • Balancing the interest of local business owners - "We'll see how valuable it is to him"


      • In urban contexts, most customers aren't driving to your store


      • Increasing the cost of parking makes other transit options more attractive


      • "Drivers in Boston are jerks, but drivers in Manhattan are just insane"


      • The less space you allocate to parking, the more space you have for street beautification




    • Car-free streets
      • Social distancing promotes outdoor seating


      • "Let the market work; let the consumer decide"






  • City Governance
    • City services shouldn't be government-run


    • Charter Schools


    • Privatizing (or "divesting", or "DESTATALIZING") public space


    • Value Capture


    • Land Value Tax - recoup value of improvements for reinvestment


    • Government provision - no pricing feedback loops


    • User Fees - direct market feedback


    • Tax Increment Financing (TIF) - tax on incremental value of a specific amenity


    • What about people who can't afford fees?
      • Guaranteed minimum income


      • Voucher model - rather than funding an MTA, give people transit vouchers and let the market determine transit modalities


      • Let wealth redistribution be a separate, more efficient system


      • Neoliberalism - "Fund People, not Beauraucracy"


      • Obstacles are political - vested interests, patronage mills






  • What impact is Market Urbanism having?
    • It's more in the "ideas" stage


    • YIMBY movement pushing similar message


    • Strong Towns movement


    • Congress for New Urbanism (CNU)


    • Anarchitecture


    • State level bills to make housing legal by-right


    • We've seen a good response among libertarians






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65727293
Episode Number
30
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Podcast ID
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Length
1h 22m 27s
Explicit
Yes
Episode
30
Episode Type
Full

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