Friday 26 July 2013

Glaeser on Christchurch

Ed Glaeser's Condliffe Memorial Lecture is now up at the University's "What If?" site. I've embedded it below.


I tell my students of the Pantheon of the Econ-Gods. Ed Glaeser is one of our Elder Gods - fueled not by the apples of the Hesperides but rather by Diet Coke.

Ed had a ridiculously busy day prior to his talk at Canterbury. He started with a tour of downtown with CERA, chipped in for a documentary somebody was making, lunched with a bunch of architects, provided a seminar for the Department, gave an interview for a freelancer for The Listener at the Staff Club, then the Condliffe. Then off for breakfast with Roger Sutton in the morning.

There are a lot of fans of Glaeser's approach to urbanism around the country. Let's hope it's done some good!


  1. But
    Glaeser notes that there are problems with Houston's sprawl: It takes
    a large amount of energy to make the area's humid, hot climate
    comfortable, and the city is built around the use of cars.

    "Houston is among the five worst American metropolitan areas, in terms of its
    carbon emissions," he says.

    And he acknowledges that for people who are concerned with environmental
    issues, Houston presents a picture that is beyond dismaying.

    "I think horrendous wouldn't be too strong a word," Glaeser says.

    libertarian model = fail (but only if you have an environmentalists world view)?

  2. Put a tax on carbon and another on congestion, and it doesn't matter how much Houston sprawls.

  3. But could you get something like Susan Krumdiek is suggesting: bowl much of the run down part of Riccarton and rebuild an urban eco village?


    14 years, I have had to listen to the frustration and disbelief of
    professionals with major companies who are transferring to Houston
    ask me, "What do you mean you don't have zoning?" Incoming
    homebuyers have become increasingly cautious about their purchases
    because our regulations are weak. To suggest that Houston is in
    danger of overregulation in development is laughable if not an
    outright lie.

    When potential buyers see three- and four-story town-homes and four- to five-story midrises adjacent to and crowding one- and two-story single-family homes, they take a pass. It then becomes a challenge to find a relatively "safe" neighborhood with deed
    restrictions, or a separate city such as West University or
    Southside with a property that meets my customers' needs.

    residential construction on top of active railroads, freeways and
    busy commercial streets is the norm at this time, not the exception.

    Excessive regulation is an economic danger? If I may quote the great poet, John Milton,
    "License they mean when they cry liberty!"


  4. If somebody wanted to buy up the land near the University and turn it into that, I'd be cheering. If the City decided to expropriate all the homeowners near the University to do it, I'd be weeping.

    I expect that the L1 zoning in much of that area prevents anything like it though, no?