Monday, June 29, 2015

The Political Geography of Market Urbanism

The later the economic boom, the greater the municipal area.

Theme: Demography and economic development

Subject Article: "Pittsburgh’s population challenges stand out."

Other Links: 1. "Jurrassic Park Houston, defending Texas exceptionalism, passing Chicago, Market Urbanism, and more."
2. "How soon will Houston pass Chicago? The question isn't whether we'll be the nation's third-largest city. It's when."
3. "Debunking Texas Exceptionalism."

Postscript: Real estate market economist Jed Kolko responded to my criticism of conflating population change with domestic migration by pointing out that population change strongly correlated (positively) with domestic migration. There I sat with a straw man argument on my lap. Or so it seemed. Data in aggregate often obscure more than they illuminate. For example, one of the largest domestic migration flows in the entire country is from Texas to California. That's a gaping hole in the assertion that restrictive zoning on building repels migrants. Demographics aside, greenfield development is a different animal from infill. Greenfields are cheaper and politically less encumbered. Economically, the Sun Belt is playing catch up with the Rust Belt (much like developing countries are chasing developed countries). This game of convergence is far from fulfilled. In fact, in recent decades, the wealthiest Rust Belt states have started pulling away again from the Sun Belt. So Sun Belt cheerleaders continue to hang their hats on population growth without fulling understanding the demographics. The Sun Belt is not exceptional. Most of it remains well behind the rest of the country.

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