How to Save the Suburbs
This interesting interview reminds me of something i think Krugman has said somewhere, that economics is about telling stories.
Energy prices have nothing to do with it. I said that at the time. They can accelerate the process, but what drives it is the shift in consumer preferences. Gen Xers and Millennials want a lifestyle closer to Friends and Seinfeld (that is, walkable and urban) than to Tony Soprano (low density and suburban). It’s not that nobody wants Tony Soprano. About 50 percent of Americans actually do want that configuration. But if we’ve built 80 percent of our housing that way, that’s the definition of oversupply. The other 50 percent of Americans want walkable urban arrangements and yet that’s just 20 percent of the housing stock. That’s called pent-up demand. So the market is just responding.
Via Matthew Yglesias.