Sunday, August 27, 2006


This Washington Post column on affordable housing is on the whole pretty good, though I have a couple of quibbles. First it overemphasizes "the problem is the government!" rhetoric. It's true, in a sense, as bad zoning laws and community resistance do cause a lot of problems but it's wrong to take away from that the idea that the solution is complete government non-involvement. Better laws, not no laws. Yes, Houston has no zoning laws but it still has building codes.

The second is that it doesn't address directly the undiscussed cost of suburban home ownership - the need for one car per driving age person in the household. It does speak highly of a dense development around a metro station, but I've noticed few explicitly acknowledge the high cost of automobile ownership. Yes people talk of high gas prices, yada yada, but it's important to acknowledge that automobile ownership overall is a tremendously costly and development which allows families to reduce the number of cars per household should be a goal (in tandem with providing decent mass transit, of course).

For local people who wish to reduce the number of cars in their household I highly recommend Philly Car Share. For people who don't need their cars to commute it's a great service.