What Do We Really Want in a Neighborhood?

Posted in Planning at 12:01 am by justakim

It’s easy to think that because suburbs are being built and people are moving into them, that these are the sorts of places that people want to live in. It turns out that there are a lot of people who would prefer a small-town environment.

Here is a lecture by Andres Duany, an architect and housing development planner.

What stuck with me most were images presented early on, of one standard separate-use housing development and one old, mixed-use neighborhood. The second one looked absolutely more attractive, built on a human scale, and more expensive a place to live.

The other lasting impression I had was that the people who think traffic needs to be fed into faster-flowing arteries are probably the same people who thought that channelizing and paving streambeds was a great idea for flood control.


Can you balance the California budget?

Posted in Politics at 8:31 pm by justakim

Try it out for yourself.


I keep thinking there must be more options, that there are more things to be cut, more places to shave, more details that could lead to some good solution, but I know the truth, that the referendums, extensive earmarking, and federal laws (ironic given California’s attempts to have stricter legislation elsewhere) form the walls of a very nasty little cage.

I went with 18bil in cuts and 6bil in tax increases (gas, of course). I kept the parks and community colleges too. I’m not dead-set against other taxes, but something has to be done about the base budget. No furlough band-aid is going to fix it.


Inflatable House

Posted in Politics at 9:16 am by justakim

I was speaking to a friend in Australia who had been house hunting for months and suddenly she wasn’t anymore. I asked her what happened.

It turns out that her government was giving out a first-time home owner incentive and that she was going to use it to buy an apartment. But the incentive was set to expire sooner than most applications could get through the pipe so this incentive was increased and extended ‘indefinitely’.

This caused the real estate market to respond by raising prices, negating the benefits of the incentive because a significant number of home buyers would have exactly that much more money available to buy a house with. Gotta check that elasticity before setting up those incentives.

I’m sure we wouldn’t mind a misguided housing price bump around here.


“burn the land and boil the sea…”

Posted in Econometrics, Fun and Games at 10:40 am by justakim

I was reflecting upon the many programs that have come and gone from my system. MiniTab, GAUSS, Stata, SAS… well at least there’s one that I can’t lose a license to.

you cant take R from me