to “suburban women,” something along the lines of “I’m protecting your suburbs” with references either to “projects” or “Section 8.”
for that sort of language. “Inclusive and equitable suburbs build more affordable housing, advance fairness in education, and centers environmental justice.”
[P]ursuant to [the policy] Dubuque, Iowa was required to provide low income housing to residents of Chicago, some 200 miles away. The Obama administration forced Dubuque to give these out-of-staters preference for affordable housing over needy residents of the town, many of whom had been providing Dubuque with tax revenue for decades.
The policy was being questioned in the Senate
before Mr Trump became president. Mr Mirengoff suggests it well might resonate with suburban voters. In DeKalb, the northwest corner of the city is home to Fraternity Row, a lot of rental units catering to students and to Section 8 residents, and that neighborhood gets more than its share of shootings, and, for some reason, arson fires in apartments. You can count on the comment section of the newspaper, if they consent to comments, getting lit up with gripes, either about the students, or about the “Section 8 people.” National Review
‘s Stanley Kurtz suggested that exporting Chicago’s troubles
extended beyond the Mississippi River.
Dubuque is not an upper-middle-class suburb but a small and economically struggling city. At $44,600, median income in Dubuque is well below the state median of $51,843. Like other nearby Mississippi river towns with aging populations, Dubuque is hard-pressed to provide good jobs and decent housing for the low-income people already there: poor families with children, retired elderly, and disabled adults. The city’s priority is to revive its economy by keeping its young people from moving away, and by attracting new residents who are willing and able to start businesses. Like any city, Dubuque’s first obligation is to see to the needs of the citizens who already live there, vote, and pay taxes. Or so it was in pre-[new policy] America.
Our story begins about eight years ago. Just as Dubuque was reeling from the effects of the 2008 recession and dealing with an uptick in its own low-income housing needs, the city was hit with a wave of “Section 8” low-income housing voucher applicants from Chicago. A few years earlier, Chicago had systematically demolished its most drug- and crime-ridden high-rise public housing facilities, using grants from HUD. Yet through its own mismanagement, Chicago had failed to properly replace its now depleted low-income housing stock, leaving many Chicago residents looking to use their Section 8 vouchers elsewhere.
Mr Kurtz suggested that the national government was “commandeering” the Mississippi River towns in Iowa to “solve Chicago’s public housing shortage.” Perhaps, or perhaps not, but Mr Mirengoff sees a campaign issue. “[I]f folks in the suburbs of cities like Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit, Houston, and Philadelphia come to understand that Biden is committed to radically transforming housing and transportation patterns where they live, more than a few of them might well reconsider their support for the former vice president.”
But if the suburbs are to be “saved,” perhaps it ought to be from local zoning ordinances, if the contagion-avoiding movement away from thickly settled areas
is to have any permanence.
But rejecting mixed-use planning has made suburban communities unexpectedly resilient in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not so appealing to be able to walk to the corner café for brunch (a cooked omelet, presumably) when the venue has been shut down by shelter-in-place orders. Even as restaurants and retailers reopen, dining in or shopping has been degraded by the coronavirus: Restaurant occupancy is restricted by social distancing; establishments are struggling to make ends meet; and worries about contamination in enclosed, air-conditioned spaces damage the experience. All of that might return to normal eventually, but by the time it does, the gastropubs and ice-cream parlors may have gone under anyway. The coffee shops may conver for good into tableless pickup stands. Commercial catastrophe will affect the allure of existing mixed-use developments far more than single-use, low-density residential communities, which never relied on those benefits as a condition of residency.
The single-use, residential communities will not have any gastropubs or drive-throughs on their commercial-zoned stroads, you mean. There goes the business tax base
. “An increasing number of developers want to appeal to people who prefer to live and work in places where they don’t have to drive for everything they want.”
‘s Christian Britschgi sees the strange bedfellows
[T]he president shares a lot in common with many of his progressive detractors in deeply blue areas of the country who are also happy to use regulation to keep new housing at bay, and who organize against attempts from higher levels of government to force them to accept new development.
Paradoxically, he notes, “It’s unlikely that Trump will pick up too many votes in the blue suburbs of blue cities, but his defense of local control and low-density zoning probably isn’t hurting him there.” Steven Greenhut, also in Reason
[G]overnment enforces zoning specifically to limit any meaningful choice and to control what other people do on their own property. “All zoning is exclusionary, and is expected to be exclusionary; that is its purpose,” wrote the late Bernard Siegan, a prominent free-market academic.
Doesn’t matter whether it’s snob zoning or socially conscious zoning, it’s imposition of constraints
that might actually militate against people being able to provide decent, cheap housing. “So next time you notice a block that has seen better days, take a look at your zoning code and see how a few key changes could make a world of difference.”
Thus, if the president is attempting to reach conservative voters (whatever that means) he might want to lead the charge against what Strong Towns writer John Pattison describes as the suburban experiment
. That is, “[R]elaxing zoning laws, allowing greater building flexibility, allowing duplexes and granny flats, letting small business districts form, etc.—should appeal to Republicans’ social conservatism, free-marketism, and populism.” Yes, and if a few holders of Section 8 vouchers are in the mix, it’s unlikely to be the kind of clustered poverty of the slums or of the projects.