The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on December 25, 2011

  • Fantastic article by Kay Hymowitz on Brooklyn, NY: history, economics, gentrification, and the importance of land use zoning. Must-read.
    Walentas’s prescience—and patience—put him in an unusual position. Like many successful developers, he was able to make a lot of money: space in the buildings he bought for $6 per square foot now sometimes sells for $1,000 per square foot. But unlike other developers, Walentas owned so much of a neighborhood that he could play God. Also, since he was making so much money from the properties overall, he could give rent breaks to commercial tenants that he viewed as desirable—for instance, upscale retailers like West Elm, the modern-furniture outlet, and Jacques Torres, a high-end chocolatier—while refusing chains like Duane Reade, which, he felt, set the wrong, down-market tone.

    Wikipedia image

    tags: city_journal kay_hymowitz brooklyn nyc urbanism urban_renewal entrepeneurialism

Tolerating complexity

…After you’ve read Hymowitz’s article, which includes an analysis of Dumbo, consider Stephen Smith’s piece, next, which argues against certain zoning restrictions (including height). If I’m reading Smith (aka @marketurbanism) correctly, he in effect proposes a kind of trickle-down urbanism: if you have more space available, it becomes cheaper to have/ rent/ own (which in turn would help spur economic development, including entrepreneurial startups, in NYC). But after reading Hymowitz’s take on the numbers of people employed (both historically by manufacturing plants, which employed thousands, and startups, which employ minuscule numbers in comparison), the argument might need tweaking. While I agree with much of what Smith writes, Hymowitz’s analysis is perhaps more cognizant of the complexities involved.

Smith’s piece:

  • @MarketUrbanism makes the case for a variant of trickle-down benefits of market forces.
    When Ryan Avent’s ebook The Gated City came out, I summed up his thesis as being that if you allow more growth in Silicon Valley, you get more tech companies and tech wages. The same principle is worth a try around Union Square and Dumbo. They’re both urban neighborhoods, but are relatively squat compared to other commercial neighborhoods in the city. They may not be completely “zoned out” for new development, but the amount of developable space is a small fraction of what’s already built, and it’s certainly not enough to keep prices from rising faster than the rate of inflation. In Dumbo, for example, new buildings are barely allowed to rise above the height of a elevator-less walk-up, when they’re allowed at all. In Union Square, the hottest new building isn’t even new, but rather an expensive rehab of an old structure with barely any new square footage. Entrepreneurs, especially in lucrative industries like technology, are willing to shell out more money to be in a talent hub like New York or Silicon Valley, but their ability to pay is not limitless.

    tags: forbes stephen_smith marketurbanism cities nyc urban_development

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Depannage informatique January 4, 2012 at 2:13 am

Merci pour ce post.

Hobert January 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Located your blog through Digg. You already know I will be subscribing to your rss feed.

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