Escape to New York

John Carpenter had it backwards; Snake Plissken's job is going to be keeping people out of New York, not in it. According to the New York Post, "The subprime crisis and the gas price crisis are accelerating the trend that people want to be in walkable urban areas," said Christopher B. Leinberger, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute, who is also a real estate developer. "It's been happening for the past 15 years and these trends have just accelerated it."

Whereas New York City had the most housing starts in the nation last year, "If you look at what is happening in California you see the trend; in Los Angeles, neighborhoods in the western part of the city like Brentwood that are walkable are seeing their home prices go up," Leinberger says. "Homes in the far east - way over the mountains in the desert, they're dropping more than 40 percent in price - that's worse than the Depression. It's the homes on the fringes of the suburbs that are really getting hit. All that's going on is going to make this go faster."Eric Torbenson's frothy writing style reminds one of Jim Kunstler, but he makes some good points.

"For New York and other cities with respectable public transportation, it's still relatively good times; maybe too good. But have you found a seat on the subway recently?"

This is appears to be true in many urban centers; from London to New York to Toronto, the transit systems are over capacity and new lines are being built. While the froth is off the real estate market, there are still cranes everywhere, and people are moving back in.

"But in cities like Dallas, and Seattle, and New York, misery may find comfort in company. Wall Street's losing jobs, but with enough other urban industries, people can afford to buy - or at least rent - an apartment; sell that car and take the subway; cut up that CostCo card for groceries at the bodega. No more gas grills on the redwood deck. But hey, a kitchenette! Welcome to the new urban renaissance." New York Post

TreeHugger on Cities

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Tags: Cities | Housing Industry | Urban Life | Urban Planning


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