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tv   Conservative Urban Development Policy  CSPAN  August 1, 2017 6:26am-7:28am EDT

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[inaudible conversations] i apologize for the lack of seating although we are heartened to see so many people here interested in the topic as executive editor of the american conservative thank you for joining us as we discuss the future of traditional urbanism. this is a joint initiative
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of a magazine based here in washington with the center-right think tank on want tura take a moment to say thanks for letting us use this great facility and c-span is here broadcasting thanks for joining us are also like to ask the audience with the usual reminder to silence yourself phones but we do encourage tweeting. [laughter] i also hope you'll take a moment if you like what you hear through the institutes
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and follow us with those initiatives of the american conservatives and has their own twitter account i'd like to thank our daughters and sponsors with the new urbanism program that makes it possible with the was based in chicago thank you for your support of this event. i also like to read knowledge slow like to take a moment of the staff of the
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institute so before we get started with that panel the new urbanism initiative and three years ago about this time 2014 it challenged the status among the conservatives with continuing the same course with ordinary citizens. so for those of you who don't know the issue and those resources wasted on that. does somebody warrants what washington would come to regret that it is the only
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voice on the right so many of our editors hand contributors with that current approach is pursued by the government at all levels federal and shirley we will hear from the local official but that is with our environment in which we live and work and raise our children. and to put this into larger context the with the built-in environment but with those small towns or suburban neighborhoods but
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now that mass-produced automobile but but the federal government to play an increasingly prominent role to shape this environment to create incentives with this neighborhood for mount -- format with shopping malls surrounded by acres of parking lots which replaced the mean streets and downtown commercial areas. in the great republican icon eisenhower that created the highway system officially
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that made the car the preferred mode of transportation so as a result destroyed those established neighborhoods but at the same time federal urban renewal programs to encourage the slum clearance from housing projects from those two were isolated and in some downtowns and through that type of surgery that removed our heritage. but i do think there were dissenters from the up project that was the byproduct -- bipartisan effort but in the '60s was jacobs author of the death
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and life of great american cities successfully stopped the lower manhattan project from going right through those dense urban neighborhoods although they couldn't save bin station but now there is an effort to try to rebuild that great space so the neck step in the movement after this initial reaction some people began to engage not just in the reaction to what was happening but work to create a positive agenda in a way that could rediscover those
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older or more humane ways places for people to live and work and that movement they just celebrated 25 years of success with new development in restoring the places that people actually want to live whether it is the suburbs in the larger cities but those who have been working on this project that they are generally happy to have conservatives with those fellow travelers in the movement so a few years into this with the new urbanism initiative american conservative is the only outlet to take this environment very seriously and to publish with our print magazine basically we
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pursued two strands of inquiry looking at this issue but first is maurer cultural how people imagine the environment or their place with bennett or how they can tap into architecture or urban design with those towns and suburbs as great places to live and then try to work out those urban environments or with those amenities so making this a reasonable choice and second with the larger
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conversation is of policy and that creates a regulatory environment so lot of that infrastructure now so sometimes that is involved in removing regulation or things that actually have mix used development as they often with the it -- lived before -- above the store but also means building more housing period especially urban housing in metro areas many of these people especially in these expensive areas
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like washington or new york so woefully that creates a framework but first that panelist is the director of planning and urban development for the city of of the akron ohio cities to be in charge of the transportation studies and he has been a long time reader. in the second panelist to the left is a former colleague at the american
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conservative now the managing editor of the federalist and you can also read her writing and she will talk to us about how these lessons applied in the rural areas and not just lessons for big cities. unfortunately michael hendricks had a family emergency that my former colleague represents our streets that this event so he will be stepping in. and also was a former colleague at the american
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conservative and initially started this whole initiative three years ago around this time. thanks to all the panelists. because of like some of the journalist he is at the center of the rust belt and to give us a lot of lessons how we can actually practically fix things. taken away. >> they give so much for having me it is great to be here. when we were talking before i was going to offer a couple of thoughts before we frame the discussion so with
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that particular part of the country what we're seeing is the end of big whether big corporations are big government or big projects i think if you look at that trajectory that is happening in the city's, urban renewal was top down strategy is that was supposed to revitalize us but fast forward 50 years that did not have been. -- happen but that is what i call this prosperity. . .
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>> lately i think i've adopted what i would call a predestination theology which is the idea that we need to shrink and that the only hope for is to basically shut down our cities. i am not a big fan of that approach. i think it is important to be a realistic about the market and some of our challenges. we have incredible assets in part of our country, i always make the case in a current were city of 200,000 and we have a million people within an hour drive. i refuse to believe that we can
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get .01% of those people back into the city and start to increase our population. i think that's a matter of how do we go about doing those things question. just one other quick thought, i think with the rubric of conservativism a lot of the discussion has always been a stereotype to some degrees that conservatives were always pro- suburban anti- urban. but a lot of people suburban and urban are craving a sense of community and the sense of place. that goes back to what i was saying big versus small and manageable. i think there is more common ground out there that a lot of people might first think. think some of the ideas that conservatives would reconsider would be in our part of the country, local government is extremely fragmented.
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he gets very difficult to have any regional cooperation, but i think there are good government practices of sharing services and consolidating things. i remember i was part of a sustainable communities project and the obama administration provided funding, we had a lot of tea party people come to those meetings and say that we're coming this and we are starting up a regime in northeast ohio. within some of that noise that was coming up there were real concerns about is the government going to come in and tell people where to live, my opinion is that we need to make cities competitive my people to come live in them. i think that's very different in our part of the country than the coast. here, a lot of real estate
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issues are so expensive, and akron i could sell you a nice house for hundred 50000 and allow for 200, we have 1400 of them that the city owns. in closing, thinking about the shared challenges and opportunities in different parts of the country and how to move forward. >> i've had the distinct lessing to live in several different parts of the nation and neighborhoods which is a boots on the ground experience with what's happening with a lot of american communities. i grew up in a farmhouse between fields and then moved to an alexandria condo on the third floor and one of the most walkable neighborhoods in america. i spent some time in a world war
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ii era supper and got to see the impacts of the walkable nature that downtown had in the community life of the server. and now could live in a fixer-upper with the front porch. in that time having had a child, i think it's amazing how having someone small that you push round in a stroller changes your relationship with the street a mix of both very intimate and terrifying depending on where you live. one thing that james said is that she felt what she was writing was applicable mainly to large cities, it was applicable to places where people didn't know each other and you interacted with strangers on a daily basis. i would argue that is true of most places in america today. unfortunately a lot of small town's and suburbs no longer
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have the social fabric that leads them to feel that they have a community and they know the people they pass on a daily basis. there is no longer that meeting at the grocery store or wherever that might be. my argument would be what we see is more applicable and of course we can fix some things we have a culture and social means, but i think there's a way in which we can build an environment that encourages people to spend time together. which leads me to a story, my great grandfather and his siblings grew up on a farm, there were seven of them. they had a farm in which the cornfield was next to the watermelons. they would go through the cornfield every day after school and still a watermelon and bring it back into the court feel the
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need it. just to make sure their mother wasn't watching. when they were adults they went to her and apologize and said were sorry we lied to you and she said why do you think we planted the watermelons next to the cornfield, which is, that was the built environment. it's becoming increasingly important in current days. >> thank you. and thank you louis for putting this together. this is an extraordinary events and an extraordinary craft for this discussion. having spent the last few years working at this intersection of
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urbanism and conservatism i've heard a lot of things, i've heard that conservatives don't want anything to do cities that sometimes true. i've heard that cities don't like conservatives but they don't want conservatives and that's often true. but what i've also come to understand is just how many of us are in so many places. and how for all the reputation that cities can be in cultures of liberalism, the essential tenets of conservatism and an attitude towards preserving traditions and attitude towards strengthening people's agency, those are present in cities. party labels may come and go but
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conservatism is very present. what we have seen as lewis describes is a built environment that was not planted well in many places. but rather was driven apart. so we saw many cities torn apart by interstate projects that snaked through intentionally poor working-class neighborhoods, black neighborhoods, and highways in cities have to be just as good as i was outside of them. we saw a lot of enthusiasm that destroyed a lot of good architecture and urbanism. in many cities in america you see them starting to try to prepare. trying to put pieces back together and there places where it's happening.
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one of the great sites of that is the city of detroit where it is as bad as its reputation gives you to believe. it has gone through things that no other city in america has and it has gone further down, but in detroit and in that darkness in trouble, there has been a spirit of people who move into a house that you can get not even for hundred 50000, but hundred $50. and fix it up, to then fix up the next house. and for not much money they can get a lot in a parcel. over the years they can work at fixing them. an inviting neighbors and, a creating neighborhood where they are and engaging in the act of
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civilization, of taking a place where no one lives and making it fit for people to live again. and that is a great thing to see. you see that in many places across the country. if you go to indianapolis, 30 years ago looked at itself and said we are no place. we are a suburb that is designated as a metropolitan area and invested in its downtown because it knew it needed a core. it knew it needed a place for people to come and gain their identity and come to know each other. in some places like new york, where i'm guessing a lot of people remember new york in the 80s and 90s when film such as escape from new york were
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made and it was far more imaginable than the bursting concentration of economic activity of arts in fatality that represents new york city today. so it's important to realize is were looking for just as the vision of the big planners without they're going to fix everything could not anticipate their mistakes, so to a lot of the ideas we have about what necessarily must come will not come into play. what will happen is that people will be citizens in activity will happen. we can either help that by encouraging the environment to be better towards community we can make it worse and harder. so i will just close by mentioning that in some places like akron, jason has written
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extensively about how there are problems and you need to bring people in. in the places that have come back and have revitalized, like new york, like san francisco and seattle, there is a supply problem. in these places where people are gathering to conduct economic and social activity, it is so attractive that many people are coming in but the regulations that lewis described accumulated and made it impossible to build new places for them. so there is just a blind crisis in this country. if there's anything that conservatives should understand, it is the applied problem. there's an opportunity for us to step in and take forceful
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leadership and to say where there is economic activity people should be able to go. where there are demand problems we should invite people to come in. we should invite people to come in. that's a great introduction to start us off. maybe you could address what are some of the practical things been done maybe you could tell us more about how are you addressing the supply problem, are you able to compete with washington, seattle and places like that or, what is the medium terms set of goals like akron? >> one of the luxuries a place like akron has is that we will never compete on those terms. were not even as healthy as that is. these stor cities historically a
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niche for what it is. and be in the best cities you can. one of the challenges that i'm confident we can overcome over time and with applying some good practices that we don't have a lot of demand right now, but we don't have a lot of demand for the supply that we have. akron was the fastest growing city in the united states between 1910 and 1920. we tripled in population. if you think about was going to is the automobile, we built half of the tires on planet earth in that decade in the decades following the. typical house in akron is 1914 two-story wooden frame house with the front porch. in a lot of cases that was a great house in 1914, fast-forward hundred three years, some of the neighborhoods where that house is still
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attractive they been fixed up. we tear down 500 houses every every year in a crime. those houses sell 10000, 8000, $4000. were the most affordable housing market. which is an awesome thing except if you want to make money building something or rehabbing a house. if you buy house for ten great and put 80002 and suffer 40's not a real good return. so what we need to do is had we work with that supply and demand framework? proud to say three weeks ago we launched citywide 15 year property tax abatement. if you build a new house in akron you'll pay zero property tax on that house for the next 15 years. it's not a silver bullet are equally encourage welding in
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every part of the city but it is a powerful tool. another thing, our building cold like a lot of cities in the united states regulates heavily the use of it not so much what things look and feel like. if you want to put a barbershop next to house will be incredibly difficult. if you want to build the dollar store hundred yards off the street with giant parking lot, no problem. we need to do is turn it on its head and make it easier for people to have more flexible views to make it more stringent to what it feels like. and then, one of the big opportunities we have is that not a lot of cities on the coast have because land is fairly inexpensive and we have a ton of infrastructure in the city background.
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grover cleveland, detroit, et cetera, we were at the leading edge of the freeway building, i laugh when friends and colleagues say we have traffic. we have no traffic. and so i think the opportunity we have right now are in the midst of a teardown, the core of the city and the freeway was built for 100,000 cars in the 70s. it was never finished. about ten years ago i think we made the decision not to double down on the investment that should've never been made. and right now were caring that out. it will free up 30 acres that we can develop into a linear park or maybe a little bit of both. we have a lot of opportunities if you know where to look for them. it's more a matter be in the best city we can. if we do that we will be attractive to people.
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>> coming off of that, if we can come back to the cultural side, the importance it plays and how that attracts people and creates a sense of value. >> i think one problem that relates to that and this is a problem with a lot of small communities i've seen, that is larger cities the san francisco's of the world attract people, what happens to the smaller communities surrounding them, usually they become suburbs are they experience that transformation from once being a vibrant town to be in a veteran community to people who buy their groceries elsewhere and who go to the church in the city as opposed to going to church locally. in addition a lot of their local businesses suffer.
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they're trying to answer the question of how do we make ourselves unique, vibrant, powerful will socially and economically when our resources are being drained. have this feeling of becoming faceless. i do think it is interesting to see how the regulations issues, the money that goes into suburban development, should be redirected toward small-town built environment, old houses that are already there trying to rejuvenate what exists. and these are not just pulled away from what was already created and already beautiful. and what was once strong and starting to fall apart. >> what is in place in terms of
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a set up over the years and spending money for infrastructure. and we have a new big infrastructure bill what it can do to create a level playing field. with urbanism and those things. >> one of the great challenges we are encountering now, how much infrastructure jason was describing, in time. in most of america it was not the rubber boom, it was the baby boom. the greatest generation came home from world war ii, and the new deal and institutions like
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the federal housing agency, they set up very specific targets and institutions to create what they wanted and what they wanted was what was fashionable at the time that suffered where as jason was describing, uses were regulated closely because nobody wanted a tire factory in the middle, single-family residential neighborhood. what they did not account for were what you were discussing earlier, traditional mainstream where you have a little more density, you have an apartment and during the day, keep an eye
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on the home and at night these people keep an ear out in case anyone is threatening or breaking into the shop. this pattern, there are many wisdoms to it, too many to list here but it was the core of every american at this point, the federal financing standard, and commercial only. the financing dried up as the banking market moved in the direction they were pointing. and they wonder why we didn't build things better. there are people on the hill right now trying to figure out how they can fit the federal
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program. and subsidies are poured in to the preferred form, the playing field is level. when people decide they want to build something in that place, they can access the market, in the article you mentioned, the premium that development has these days and thinking it is about big cities, you are seeing densification everywhere, suburbs urbanizing because people once possibility, people want to be able to walk to a store and the price premium is there. people will build it and come. question is if we are going to
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let the legacy city, cities that already exist and let people come or pushing them further out. >> >> opening up for -- increasing walk ability is great. there is a lot of pushback to these and i'm sure jason should be deals -- how do people respond to any change, don't want the freeway removed, how do you make the case for the new vision of restoring? >> local government taught me,
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people never like change. and with officials to listen, there is wisdom in the crowd, it is a little more problematic. contrary to popular belief, they are in heavy of owner regulation and other people. that comes up in the real world. in a lot of cities, akron included there is move to air b&b is a great thing, the refugee community in the city of akron, 6000, 7000, refugees, jason roberts, a lot of you might know we did the biggest block in the united states two years ago. the neighborhood created one
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exchange house, for $22,000 making it a cultural center for the movies, air b&b is getting more popular, people run out their houses for parties, 150 people or weddings, in the zoning code most people agree it is not reasonable to have 100 people regularly hanging out but where you have two people eating breakfast, your dog is probably okay. how do we navigate that environment and regulatory fashion. other things in akron where they are pretty much nonexistent. and any coastal standard.
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and has been really progressive. and far more traffic than they carried, and the four ray load, pretty easy to do. and taking away the lanes. and how much it is going to work somewhere and the project where you deduct the project, to a 2 lane street, we actually measured the change in the average speed of the traffic, it didn't happen because maybe 12 seconds longer for people to get through their. another thing in planning profession which is great, going back to the scientific method. we have a whole industry of
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consultants, with these sophisticated computer models starting my career. and film traffic for an hour when i get rid of a lane and that is one of the things that is changing in the profession making it better and it uses going back to public perception to demonstrate with real-world experience, and learn what not to do. >> harnessing perceptions is helpful. because people who live on a street know that street and the traffic on it and i argue most americans don't -- to be so
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heavily trafficked so they -- most who don't live in these towns, to understand the magnificent difference, to give it back to the townspeople, they want that and are going to fight for it and i live in a community that is fighting back from commuter traffic and very staunchly advocating for wider sidewalks, it all goes back to reeducating all of ourselves because we were raised in a generation that is very car centric to ask what is the street for? the cheap end of the street and the community, the cheap end of the street is not to give us heavier car track it to enable that. that involves more pedestrians
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than fellowship, by four wheels. >> i would also indicate speaking of urbanism, one of the great institutions is the charade. it is time intensive but for people who do it well do it very well, stakeholders from an area together. that is what it looks like and it helps to say here is a picture of something done well. we want. you want to band that. >> that can get a conversation started. i don't want to say ever is easy to get political input and
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volume, but government is not easy, self-government much less. some people are able to push it through and make it successful. >> let's take the next 10 minutes or so. wait for the make and identify yourself. so panelists could respond. >> a lot of the problems sort of us cities turning the sprawling suburban health cases the government incentives pushed it
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that way. and in that walk. and
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jonathan alluded to this the we kind of turned her back on 5000 years of how to build cities. you rea chuck malone's
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writings, and after world war ii, they think the country is going to be at leisure for those resources on that for a long time. >> regulation at the office. >> not allow more parking to be built. and we had a downtown parking requirement. it is kind of city dividend silly to have that. and force you to figure out how to build a certain amount of states per unit. we did talk about maximums, and
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the market urbanism argument with the maximum thing, the government intervening too much and it is a necessary corrective. my own thought is it is enough to say we won't force you to build too much parking. >> one of the most robust findings in social science, and leftist power all over the world, is there any evidence that increasing density will help republicans. and red state model.
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>> on the inside. >> because this is an event by the american conservative i have to point out conservatives and republicans, and a republican perspective, what is interesting to note is only one of the 20 largest american cities has a republican mayor. and part of that is -- we can speculate about the reasons for that happening but a lot of it from folks i'm talking to, disinvestment from the party. if you strengthen cities, and
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people paying attention to the budget doing better there. one of the great people who is working in the republican party, for resources in cities, to do policy work, it is not a surprise that if you are running and don't have any ideas and funders or none of your party infrastructure, and in places in other places we have seen interesting models. the recent mayor of the city, and san diego, require the
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republican mayor through interesting means. and i think you will find opportunities for good policy, and -- >> took somebody in the back. glasses in the back. >> and demand problems, across the river, we have a supply problem. one of the more difficult things talking to residents beyond hinduism, people understandings of the relationship between more
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housing supply and the effect on house prices. people who understand supply and demand have strong incentive to not allow more housing in neighborhoods, people who don't understand supply and demand see what happens, more expensive than old buildings, this is why things are so expensive and if we stop building prices are more affordable. the causations are the other way around. what you succeeded in destroying, anything that makes it attractive to live there in the first place. my question is how do you do that? more supply generally deals with housing cost problems/how do you create incentives, why should you pair that we are putting up a four unit small mid rising place to restricting in
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single-family. >> i will jump in shortly to say an interesting model here, the worst housing prices in the country, and what is forming, attempting to bring this market wisdom and advocate for buildings while also being in dialogue with levers of power. they create coalitions that advocate housing in any form with subsidies housing, and market rate. the important thing is you have to have market rate housing, the less you have the more everything else gets. the more people stop market rate
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housing, the more they are driven out of their homes. that is a message you have to drive home. there is a real governance issue here that we may have to look seriously at. where we play veto power over the ability to create places for people to live and people to do things with their own property and we have placed that power at the most local level. as a dyed in the wool american conservative locally i am generally for moving all power to the local. as americans, as we see behind us a great tradition of recognizing incentives need to
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be balanced. and to check interest. in places, we take a hard founding look at the governing structure. >> time for one more question. the gentleman in the back holding up the beer. >> recovering -- let me bring up john's detroit example, we see amazing stuff. it is in a profound way, 138 mi. of detroit. what i want to ask is how to build an urban movement going forward that is equal access,
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actually brings economic growth not just where the money wants to go but places that need it the most. how do you fill something that is making great places for people who will live there next but people who will live there now. >> the flip side of the one about supply. in the example, people being very freaked out by new housing, in my part of the country, it is almost the opposite, people read about gentrification in new york and san francisco, this gentrification genie is out of the bottle and people are worried about it, not to minimize concerns that thrive, my response in my city, they say
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gentrification is out, a great problem for us to have. i am familiar with this, other than two years, our part of the country has been unrelentingly negative about the future of cities, people get the stockholm syndrome, whoever coined the term should get an award for what it should be called, people come to me, they opened the second coffee shop, will that put the other one out of business, my problem is not the we have too many coffee shops or anything, a place like detroit, the real concern of the largely african-american low income
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population that has been disenfranchised for a really long time. helping people see more investment in the committee is a good thing. it is a challenging conversation to navigate this, and if you ever read joe forthright, and talk about gentrification, in this case there has been quality in detroit. and 138 mi. , it is a difficult thing to navigate. to revitalizing neighborhoods that haven't had investments in 40 or 50 years. it does start with what i was saying earlier, starting to
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think small and the planning profession, in a lot of cases, 50, 60 years and in a lot of ways it brought places like detroit to start thinking about local, roundup, restoring places -- >> that is a great place to wrap things up on this third panel. in just a minute we move into the second panel. we ask you to bear with us thanks to all the folks standing in the back. let's have a round of applause. [applause]


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