Thursday, July 30, 2009

Links o' the Day

Vancouver approves "Suites w/in Suites" or as we call them, Auxiliary (or accessory) Dwelling Units. These aren't Granny Flats however over a detached garage. The new provision allows for condominium owners to sublet portions of their unit to renters. This is important on a number of levels. It kills two PIGEONS! with one stone.

First, it allows the market (I need a new word, "market" has been too bastardized -- how about 'it allows US to meet our own needs') to accommodate affordable housing, which it historically has always done much better than state sponsored solutions via more organic, fine-grained approaches; and Second, it cools off an overpriced housing market where prices had become SO disconnected from incomes, two statistics that by nature require a certain measure of natural tethering.

I've been pushing this type of housing "deregulation" (to some extent), or relaxation, around DFW projects allowing for new methods of meeting mortgage payments/qualifying for mortgages. Perhaps the story of a college student purchasing a $450,000 house in The Kentlands, only to live in the garage flat and sublet the house to a family for the equivalent of her monthly mortgage payment. Very clever and shrewd move by the young woman. Granny flats, duplexes, etc. all have a future.

HuffPuff on the best cities for local food. Hint: Dallas misses the cut.

San Fran looks for new ways to handle parking:

They suggest replacing the 1970s-era lettered parking sticker program with "parking benefit districts," a boutique approach to parking in which residents decide how much to charge for parking in their neighborhoods, the boundaries for paid parking and what perks should come to those who pay premiums to park.

Without reading the report, it seems like an adaptation of the market-based approach suggested by Donald Shoup.

A new report promoting transportation modes for healthy lifestyles. Out of all of the relevant, everyday issues of urban design, I have found that the "health factor" is the one that has had the most success breaking through to the every day dialogue, ie it gets press in USA TODAY.

Money Quote:

Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for Americans in the prime of life. In 2000, motor vehicle crashes cost $230.6 billion in medical costs, property damages, lost worker productivity, travel delays, and other expenses. That figure equals about half of all spending on public education from kindergarten through 12th grade.