Height Restrictions Mean High Prices in DC

Responding to a report by the Washington Post that office rents have now topped those in Manhattan, Matt Yglesias says the district's austere zoning is to blame.

Yglesias argues that the perceived aesthetic benefits of building height restrictions are inconsequential compared broader economic development impacts. Forbidden from building up, developers instead build out, sending jobs and residents to the suburbs, he says. The result is fewer retail sales and associated service-sector jobs for low-skill DC residents as well as lost sales and income tax revenue for the city.

In general, cities should be mindful of unintended effects of land use policies, Yglesias writes:

'Rules which mandate that the space be used inefficiently are extremely costly. Sometimes it's a price worth paying-you wouldn't want a city with zero parks-but there are limits to how much it makes sense to sacrifice for aesthetics.'

Full Story: Yglesias: The High Price of Short Buildings

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95