There was some really good news this week that 12 major cities have made a new pledge to create zero-emissions areas by 2030 aimed at promoting alternative modes of transportation and pushing out cars. To make things better, Singapore also announced that, beginning in February, it will no longer issue new vehicle certificates, capping the number of cars in the city.
Cars take up a lot of land in cities, and the more that goes to roads, the less there is for housing and shops. The more limitations there are on land for these uses, the more likely it is that land values will increase, thus pushing up housing prices because there aren’t more central areas to build. The role of land values in driving housing crises hasn’t had the attention it’s deserved, but more academics are trying to help average people understand the issue so we can work together on solutions. And one of these is a land value tax.
While land values are important to the housing crisis, so is the kind of housing that gets built. I’ve previously argued that the only way housing is going to become more affordable is if governments get back in the business of building public housing since the evidence shows private developers have a much greater incentive to build luxury condos. The mayor of London now seems to be recognizing this, and is calling for councils to do more building so average people can remain in the city.
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