Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Sharing Economy Boondoggle

If the powers that be in Austin regulate the sharing economy, innovation will suffer. If the powers that be in Raleigh regulate the sharing economy, millennials won't live there. If the powers that be in Albany regulate the sharing economy, it "is an obstacle to progress in general." Yield to the sharing economy or die.

Such claims strain credibility and belong in the same category as sports stadium boondoggles. Owners prey upon regional doubts about being good enough to run with the big dogs. Every city, it seems, has an inferiority complex. Civic pride makes for bad policy choices.

Fueling the young adult bravado, more and more places buy the idea that jobs follow people. Only quality amenities will allow for talent retention and attraction. Throw cold water on Airbnb or Uber at your own peril. Food trucks are the new symphony orchestras.

Furthermore, if we could retroactively build great urban spaces, then sprawl wouldn't have happened. Once again, quality of place drives migration. I'm dealing with such speculation in Cleveland. The aim is to spark infill. How? A big report will tell you.

There are two problems with these recommendations. Actually, there's a third problem. But I'm too angry to write about it. First up, infill is happening without doing anything that must be done. Macroeconomics explain the ironic flow. Macroeconomics explain the sprawl. There's a bit more to it than that. But macroeconomics merit consideration when discussing migration. Second, examples are lacking of how sound planning have proven to drive infill. What I see, considering actual migration analysis, is a demographic convergence of infill across places regardless of policy. This is a national trend, like sprawl, without a full embrace of the sharing economy.

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