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Affordable Housing Follows Good Transit

More raw housing stock is only the first step. Without comprehensive transit, the value of density can't extend beyond the city center.
June 22, 2015, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Echoing the calls of many a frustrated urbanist, Ben Adler makes the case for affordability via public transportation. "Demand follows transit. For all the talk about how artsy young people will go where the housing stock has historic character and the rents are low, the bottom line is that the vast majority of them will live where they can get to a job in a reasonable amount of time."

The ideal transit system functions across the whole city, taming exceptional prices in central areas. Adler writes about transit as a public good for this century, much as auto infrastructure was perceived in the last.

To that end, Adler proposes public spending on transit to match 20th-century highway initiatives. "The problem, of course, is money, and most cities' lack of it. This is where the federal government should step in. America's global competitors from France to China are investing in higher-speed and lower-cost subway and inter-city rail service than we have here."
Transit only coincides with gentrification because it's a luxury good. And for Adler it shouldn't be. Better to cough up the money to build comprehensive transit than face a future with "poor people being forced to the urban periphery where they must drive everywhere."
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Published on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 in Grist
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