Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nobody Wants To Live In The City It's Too Expensive

Rents are going up faster in downtown areas.

This bit is key:

In urban New York and New Jersey, Kamson Corp.'s apartments are filling up and pushing rents higher, while its suburban ones in Pennsylvania can't hold on to tenants.

"We're finding people asking more questions about mass transit, what kind of services there are in the immediate area," said Mike Beirne, Kamson's executive vice president.

The point isn't, as I must restate again and again, that everyone must move to the city. But hopefully increased demand for amenities like mass transit might lead to some minor land use changes around existing transit corridors (lowered parking requirements, increased residential density). The changes really are quite minor in some sense, and despite NIMBY fears they aren't going to turn your suburban outpost into an urban nightmare. But they can create small town centers around train stops, increase walkability and decrease automobile dependence while still maintaining, for most parts of the neighborhood, the suburban character that many people like.

Philadelphia's extensive commuter rail system has long, in most places, not lived up to its full promise due to poor land use around stations.