Alameda Point and Measure A

The city hosted Measure A forum today. I’ll leave it to the experts (Lauren and JKW) for a commentary on the proceedings. While the (seemingly endless) Measure A debate rages on, today’s NYT had an article that is somewhat relevant to the issue at hand: low vs. high density at Alameda Point.

Titled “Suburbia’s March to Oblivion”:

“Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading” thro’gh cul-de-sac suburbia, he writes in the March issue of The Atlantic. And it is not just because of the mortgage mess. A “structural change” is occurring in the housing market — a “major shift in the way many Americans want to live and work,” moving social problems out of the city and into the suburban fringe.

Mr. Leinberger cites the work of Arthur C. Nelson, the director of Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute, who has predicted that, by 2025, there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes (those built on at least one-sixth of an acre). This, Mr. Leinberger writes, is a result of “the pendulum swinging back toward urban living,” thanks to a set of economic, social, and demographic trends.

The result, he says, could be that low-density suburbs “may become what inner cities became in the 1960’s and 1970’s — slums characterized by poverty, crime, and decay.”

Meanwhile, he writes, demand for “urban living” will continue apace. Although the mortgage squeeze may slow development of lofts and condominiums in the central cities and “walkable” towns and suburbs, “it will surely continue.”

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