Fortunately, we aren’t the only ones writing about housing issues. Here’s what we’ve read recently:
The Sightline Institute showing how parking drives up the cost of rent. Fortunately, this isn’t news to anyone that’s been following this issue but it’s great to see the report covered in so many publications! It’s also good research and fascinating even if you already know the general conclusions.
The Atlantic Cities wrote a pretty terrible article suggesting that small apartments could be bad for resident’s health simply because they are small. The article links to a study study of college age dorm residents and their drinking habits as proof. It also uses ‘crowded’ and ‘small’ interchangeably to describe the apartments. It seems unnecessary to point out that living alone in a small apartment is not the same as living in a 2 bedroom apartment with 4 people. While the article title is mostly link bait, it does pose an important question; is the strategy of building smaller apartments a promising strategy for reducing the costs of rent? This is something we’d like to explore more here.
Another local publication gets to the heart of reducing rental prices, indicating that there will never be affordable housing without more supply. This is an important point and it should be noted that the movement for a higher minimum wage is complementary to the struggle to increase the housing supply in Seattle. It brings to mind one of my favorite observations about housing:
…a housing affordability crisis means that housing is expensive relative to its fundamental costs of production—not that people are poor.
By increasing the minimum wage we will increase the number of people who will be able to afford units. By increasing the supply of units will will increase the number of units that are affordable.
Owen does servicing and consulting for a software company to pay the bills. He has an amateur interest in urban policy, focusing on housing. His primary mode is a bicycle but isn't ashamed of riding down the hill and taking the bus back up. Feel free to tweet at him: @pickovven.