Region Forward Blog

The Morning Measure: Positive growth

Jan 20, 2011
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Yesterday’s Morning Measure focused on the impacts of the collapse (of part) of the housing market on land use in the localities hardest hit by that collapse. In summary while far-flung single-family homes have lost significant value over the past few years housing in compact urban walkable neighborhoods has largely held steady or increased in value.

This shift in housing trends has had a positive impact on the population of the District of Columbia which as we noted back in December saw its first population increase since the 1950s in the recent Census. Washington is home to a number of the walkable transit-oriented neighborhoods that have seen property values fare much better than their exurban counterparts. Using D.C.’s population growth as an example Philip Langdon at New Urban News wrote yesterday about the turn of fate for big American cities which 20 years ago were largely pronounced dead.

Noting that a majority of America’s largest cities saw population rebounds from 2000 onward Langdon chalks much of the progress up to an increase in attractive housing and retail development around Metro stations the much-discussed influx of the “creative class” and a better functioning local government. The challenge as we mentioned yesterday is to ensure that an ample supply of affordable housing and educational opportunities (D.C. schools are still performing very poorly) accompany this positive trend of folks preferring to live in walkable mixed-use neighborhoods.

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