Archive for February, 2011

It’s Easy to Walk a Dense City

Yonah Freemark warns that lifting Washington’s height limit without expanding transportation capacity could be a big problem. I certainly support doing both, but I think Yonah isn’t giving dense construction quite the credit it deserves. In a world in which no new transportation investment of any sort were ever going to take place again, the […]

Groceries and Tolls

The more I think about Tim’s grocery line congestion example, the less useful I think it is as a comparison point for congestion tolling. The grocery market is simply too variegated to tell us much about consumer preferences. Although I do think it’s fair to say that, generally speaking, the fewer grocery-obtaining options a person […]

Free to Pay More

Tim Lee has been writing about the downsides of congestion tolling lately, and I want to address a few of the arguments in his latest post on the subject. He writes: A few days ago I happened to stop by the local supermarket during the post-work rush. When I was ready to check out all […]

Density and Skyscrapers

I feel like a lot of readers are misunderstanding the argument Ed Glaeser is making concerning the value of skyscrapers. Glaeser is arguing, in a nutshell, that density is valuable and so society should embrace taller buildings. People then respond, “But you don’t have to build tall to be dense…just look at Paris!” Here’s Richard […]


I see that a gold investment company has decided to advertise on my site. Do not invest in gold. DO NOT INVEST IN GOLD. And if you must invest in gold, don’t do it in coin form.

Maximizing Profit

David Alpert seems unhappy with Virginia’s HOT lane plan. It’s certainly not perfect, but in my view any step toward educating drivers that they should pay to use roads, and that paying to use roads can lead to improved traffic flow, is probably a good one. But let’s address this: Right now, traffic generally moves […]

Tall Greens

I highly recommend this piece. Words to remember: But one of the advantages of building up in already dense neighborhoods is that you don’t have to build in green areas, whether in Central Park or somewhere far from an urban center. From the preservationist perspective, building up in one area reduces the pressure to take […]

This Land is Our Land

So, here’s a funny story. Virginia Republicans passed a law a few years ago requiring places to set up urban growth areas, within which denser development must be allowed. It didn’t require places to add dense development. It didn’t mandate minimum densities. It just said, hey, set up some areas where people are allowed to […]

Why Isn’t Silicon Valley in San Francisco?

Randall Parker leaves a comment: If density is so important then why is far more high tech in Silicon Valley as compared to San Francisco? The ideal level of density needed for high tech is probably below the ideal density for commuter rail. And gives me the opportunity to correct a lot of potential misconceptions […]

America and its Cities

Matt writes: Anyone actually interested in the subject will swiftly see that (a) American public policy is strongly biased against high density living and (b) that this outcome is predictable from the structure of American political institutions. That people don’t realize this is largely a matter of willful ignorance. And Kevin Drum asks: So is […]