All posts tagged: single-family homes

There’s No Such Thing as Good Housing News

There’s No Such Thing as Good Housing News

This is Work in Progress, a newsletter about work, technology, and how to solve some of America’s biggest problems. Sign up here. If you want to understand America’s strange relationship with housing in the 21st century, look at Austin, where no matter what happens to prices, someone’s always claiming that the sky is falling. In the 2010s, the capital of Texas grew faster than any other major U.S. metro, pulling in movers from around the country. Initially, downtown and suburban areas struggled to build enough apartments and single-family homes to meet the influx of demand, and housing costs bloomed across the region. Since the beginning of the pandemic, even as rent inflation has gone berserk nationwide, no city has experienced anything like Austin’s growth in housing costs. In 2021, rents rose at the most furious annual rate in the city’s history. In 2022, rent growth exceeded every other large city in the country, as Austin’s median rent nearly doubled. This might sound like the beginning of a familiar and depressing story—one that Americans have gotten …

What the Housing Shortage Is Doing to American Environmentalism

What the Housing Shortage Is Doing to American Environmentalism

Environmentalism has never been a stable ideology, and its adherents have never been a monolithic group. But, in Minneapolis, the green community has fractured as a wide array of self-described environmentalists find that they don’t agree on very much anymore. Back in 2018, Minneapolis generated national headlines for being the first major American city to eliminate single-family zoning. Under a plan called Minneapolis 2040, the city legalized duplexes and triplexes in all residential neighborhoods. The plan led to a frenzy of ambitious regulatory changes meant to yield denser, transit-accessible, and more affordable homes across the city. The stated goals of Minneapolis 2040 included housing affordability and racial equity, but supporters also stressed the environmental benefits of funneling population growth toward the urban core instead of outlying counties. “All the evidence and data shows that when you reduce your carbon footprint by, for instance, not having a 45-minute commute in from the suburbs … it helps the environment,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told me at a downtown ice-cream shop in September. “It’s really simple, right?” Maybe. …