The Gated City (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Using a series of examples, the argument is put forth that dense cities are good for both human and economic progress, that market forces should be allowed to work, and that NIMBY instincts are ultimately counter-productive. In the short section presenting possible solutions, the author highlights strengthening urban property rights, building "alternative downtowns", and compromising with anti-development forces by offering new connections to mass transit systems.
This is a sensible persuasive piece, the kind of compassionate libertarianism you might expect to read on a particularly good blog. It would have been improved if the author had gotten to the point a bit faster, but it is an argument worth considering.
Avent presents transit-oriented-development as a uniquely American solution to combat the effects of NIMBYISM. The pamphlet is concise and Avent focuses on his core argument. Thus, he only touches on how transit-oriented-development can mitigate the negative impacts associated with higher densities. I was left longing for more of Avent's prose focused on strategies to address NIMBYISM and combat its effects on non-incumbent households and national productivity.
I thought the book underappreciated the fact that there are significant negative externalities associated with high density and urban development. The book mentions that congestion is a problem, and a city at some point will become inefficiently large but hardly focuses on this. I think the costs of congestion are of great relevance to the book. It's a major problem with higher density, and of course developers don't account for the externalities (including higher congestion) they are imposing on society by building dense, something the book may do well to appreciate.
The author suggested that if residents wanted to prevent a development, they should be required to buy the land or pay (bribe) the developer to comply (with changes to the development). In my view that's completely impractical and inefficient. Who has the capacity to buy a block of land simply because they don't like the proposed development? What about the transaction and holding costs? Developments have very real externalities. How would you feel if someone wanted to build a pink factory next to you, which runs 24 hours a day, with smoke and noise permeating through your backyard and the Government said to you, if you don't like it just buy the land or bribe the factory owners into building something better.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Important issue that is too often ignored. Ryan Avent does a great job explaining the problem. I'd say this is really important for liberals to read and more importantly- take... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Fred Goodsell
Seriously one of the best books on zoning law and housing policy. A must read. Love love love it. Buy it!Published 14 months ago by Jolanta Domalewski
Not much new here, but I will read all of these books to feed my righteous anger at urban Nimbys.Published 19 months ago by JDPink
good information about a subject I never thought of before. How home prices can move people to move. How this can interrupt the income of the entire country. Easy to understand. Read morePublished 20 months ago by jodyt
It seems like the author collected failed blog posts and put them in this repetitive and disorganized tome. Read morePublished 22 months ago by greg alexander
As a sometimes reader of Free Exchange on the Economist website I have come to see Mr. Avent's take on things as ranging from pretty solid to very insightful. Read morePublished on January 27, 2014 by Jason Francis
An interesting thesis on the importance of relaxed planning laws in the US. OK, but perhaps an article would have been sufficientPublished on December 1, 2013 by Varied reader
I don't believe it's the authors fault; rather it's my inability to stick with academic writings. In this case, it's a great preview and topic but the dialog is somewhat... Read morePublished on September 15, 2013 by Woodski
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