Housing News Roundup: March 24, 2015
New Families Increasingly Staying in Cities
Move to the city, have kids, move to the suburbs? Not as often these days, as the path trod by their parents is brushed aside by many new families for a life of raising kids in or near a downtown area. Young parents in cities across the country — including Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver — cite shorter commutes and proximity to restaurants and other attractions as reasons to stay within cities. In addition, both residents and city leaders are working on ways to make urban areas more attractive to families.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Supportive Housing Is the Answer for Incarceration and Homelessness
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded with a recommendation that since “prisons have become the nation’s largest mental health care facilities,” officials should seriously consider bringing back asylums. However, the often strong connection between mental health, incarceration, and homelessness suggests that what’s really needed is an increased emphasis on supportive housing, according to the director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery. “Research shows that spending on the ‘social determinants’ of health such as permanent, affordable housing and vocational and educational services have far more impact on overall health than medical services alone.”
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Houston Ends Successful Downtown Housing Development Incentive
The success of its downtown redevelopment program has led Houston to announce an end to tax breaks for new multifamily units. The city had offered $15,000 in breaks for each unit through its Downtown Living Initiative. There are only 45 units left until the developer limit is reached; the initial unit cap was raised last year from 2,500 to 5,000 units. “(There are) enough units being built right now that will create more of a neighborhood,” said Bob Eury of Central Houston Inc. “It will only help possibilities of more residential to follow.”
Source: Next City
3D-Printed Homes Closer to Becoming a Market Reality
A Chinese company built ten in a day at a cost of $5,000 each. A firm in Amsterdam is focused on an approach that uses bio-based, renewable materials. A University of Southern California professor wants to develop a process to build everything — from structure to plumbing — in a single swipe. While the world’s first 3D-printed home isn’t on the market yet, it’s getting closer every day.
Source: Business Insider
Slow Moving Lava Makes for Cautious Living in Hawaii
The town of Pahoa, Hawaii, is preparing for lava. When the Kilauea volcano erupts, lava typically flows toward the ocean, but not this time. The eruption in June sent lava on a very slow course toward town. Lindsey Wuest, who lives and teaches in the area, commented, “I’m from Florida, where there’s hurricanes, and that’s over in a day or two, maybe. But this is, like, stress just building and building and building.” The lava’s speed has allowed residents’ time to both worry and take precautions, including building protective berms and insulating power lines. The biggest concern is whether the lava will block the main route to Hilo before alternate commuting routes can be found.
Source: New York Times