The 'Both/And' of the Housing Debate
Paul Krugman, the darling of progressive policymakers in the United States, weighed in on the urban housing question recently, coming down firmly on the side of other economists in placing rising urban inequality at the foot of overly restrictive land use regulation. Many parts of "urbanist" Twitter breathlessly repeated Krugman's observations and joked about how the "debate" around housing supply and land use regulation is effectively over if Krugman says it is a problem.
Randy Shaw offered a counter to Krugman's observations, arguing vociferously that loosening land-use regulations is actually a boon for gentrification, and credits the efforts of neighborhood activists in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco to limit displacement. Pete Saunders offered a slightly more nuanced critique on his blog, but still frames this in a way that does not necessarily help planners, in particular, approach these thorny issues.
As with many great "debates" in the internet age, people often are responding to an issue they care about and not necessarily the issues brought up previously or those that are most important.