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✊🏙 Finance drives the housing crisis 💰 Urban consequences of sea level rise 🌊 & much more!

Hey urbanists! This week we're looking at a new book that adds an important dimension to the conversa
October 21 · Issue #56 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists!
This week we’re looking at a new book that adds an important dimension to the conversation around urban housing crises, and what sea level rise will mean for coastal residential areas. Plus, as always, a bunch of interesting reads near the end.
Have a great Sunday!

Changing the narrative on the housing crisis
So often when we hear discussions about the housing crises that are hitting cities around the globe, we hear about the mismatch between supply and demand. We’re told not enough houses are being built, which leads to the right-wing talking points around restricting immigration until the crisis is “under control.”
But this conversation misses key points: the role of financialization and land in rising housing prices. “Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing” made an important contribution to bring those perspectives into the discussion (check out this Evonomics piece for more on land) and Josh Ryan-Collins’ new book “Why Can’t You Afford a Home?” aims to bring the financialization aspect into the mainstream.
Even the Financial Times has given the book a positive write-up, echoing Ryan-Collins’ argument that
the ‘housing crisis’ needs to be understood primarily as a product of the banking system, not a function of construction volumes - it represents a market failure, not a supply/demand imbalance.
“Why Can’t You Afford a Home?” is definitely going on my reading list.
Climate change will swamp cities
As the climate continues to change and governments don’t change their ways fast enough to avoid the worst case scenarios, sea levels will rise and storms will get larger, which will bring bigger storm surges.
That will hit costal real estate particularly hard, and already is in some places. Hurricane Michael is an example of what storms can and will increasingly do to buildings close to the shore and near the sea level. Curbed published a good deep dive into the topic earlier this week. But is there anything that can be done to protect those homes?
There have been suggestions for US cities to follow the example of the Dutch and build a bunch of dikes, levees, barriers, and other infrastructure to protect coastal areas from rising seas. However, Billy Fleming writes in CityLab that the United States and the Netherlands can’t be so easily compared, and the solutions that work in one may not work in the other. It’s an intriguing read.
Other great reads
🚇 “When the subway was a source of profit, private interests supported it. When it became a public good, it became their target.” Who is the NYC subway really for and when did its crisis begin?
🇨🇦 Montreal’s public transit operator held a garage sale to sell off a bunch of vintage Metro memorbilia
🇦🇺 Melbourne should embrace density and transit as it grows to 8 million people by 2050
🇫🇷 France is considering congestion charges in its large cities
💰 Marc Benioff calls out fellow Silicon Valley billionaires for opposing tax that would raise $300 million to help SF homeless
🇬🇧 New kiosks from Alphabet subsidiary InLink raising surveillance concerns on London streets
🇰🇵 What’s driving North Korea’s construction boom?
🚌 A driver used Auckland’s bus system and realized it’s far better than he thought, especially after the network redesign
🚗 The mayor of Parisplans to slash car use and the difficulties she’s faced in pushing them forward
🇸🇦 Transportation companies have taken a lot of money from Saudi Arabia. Should that change after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi?
❤️ Save our brutalism from destruction
LONGREAD: “If it is your job to advance technology, safety cannot be your No. 1 concern. If it is, you’ll never do anything.” Anthony Levandowski spearheaded Google’s autonomous vehicle project under the protection of co-founder Larry Page, then jumped ship to Uber, setting off a major legal fight.
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading. You can follow me on TwitterMedium, or Instagram for even more!
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