Boise's West End Neighborhood Poised for Renaissance

A new transportation corridor prompts the coordination of transportation and land use planning efforts in Boise.

"The (Boise) West End will go from a predominantly residential area to one that combines single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and apartments with commercial hubs designed to serve the surrounding neighborhoods. Add a tree-lined avenue and buildings with clear design standards, and the area could become the city's next fashionable neighborhood.

Even many of the residents who have taken part in the expanded planning process seem to agree that there is plenty of room for improvement, but at what cost?

Some worry that new development could force lower-income families out of the area, and in the process, destroy the character of the diverse neighborhood.

"It's a question of affordability," said Miguel Gaddi, senior planner at HDR Engineering. "Are you going to enforce, or come up with some incentives where you ask developers to maintain a certain level of affordable properties?"

Gaddi has been studying the West End neighborhood as part of his work completing the specific area plan for the city. "If you don't have that mix, that vibrancy is not going to be there," Gaddi said."

Thanks to Jon Cecil, AICP

Full Story: 30th Street Master Plan



Affordability and Supply Side Economics

Affordability is a problem related to all new developments, but particularly acute in urban and new mixed use and transit-oriented developed (i.e. any development that incurs additional costs to accomodate externalities).

The inflation (unreported? - related to CPI)in real estate prices is the chief culprit. This and costs of Capital coupled with a lack of effective demand also contribute to the dire situation. Contrary to Say's "Law", supply side economics does not create its own demand. Instead what we have is the preponderance of very low paying retail jobs, and an oversupply of retail goods that cetainly does not guaranty a favorable return for the owners of the myriad of corporate conglomerate chain stores that dominate the commercial sector.

The economy is in crisis. It will take a fundamental reassessment and reorganization to bring it down to earth.

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