Why Can’t We Get Cities Right?

Harvey will leave a huge amount of wreckage behind, some of it invisible. In particular, we don’t yet know just how much poison has been released by flooding of chemical plants, waste dumps, and more. But it’s a good bet that more people will eventually die from the toxins Harvey leaves behind than were killed during the storm itself.

.. Many toxic waste sites are flooded, but the Environmental Protection Agency is conspicuously absent.

.. Greater Houston still has less than a third as many people as greater New York, but it covers roughly the same area, and probably has a smaller percentage of land that hasn’t been paved or built on.

..  The median monthly rent on a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is more than $3,000, the highest in the nation and roughly triple the rent in Houston; the median price of a single-family home is more than $800,000.

.. America’s big metropolitan areas are pretty sharply divided between Sunbelt cities where anything goes, like Houston or Atlanta, and those on the East or West Coast where nothing goes, like San Francisco or, to a lesser extent, New York

.. Chicago is a huge city with dense development but relatively low housing prices; maybe it has some lessons to teach the rest of us?

.. this is one policy area where “both sides get it wrong” — a claim I usually despise

.. In particular, we should encourage construction that takes advantage of the most effective mass transit technology yet devised: the elevator.