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Arthur C. Nelson: Metropolitan Transit and Density

by Howard Silverman

Research by Arthur C. Nelson of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah is cited in a couple of recent articles. From "Future Homes & Neighborhoods Will Likely Be Compact, Greener, & Friendlier," posted at Largie.com:

Arthur C. Nelson, a leading housing expert who has studied housing trends for twenty years, expects that migration to denser living will bring sweeping changes to American society. According to Nelson, “Surveys indicate a growing preference for urban living. Roughly ½ of all households want the opportunity to live in neighborhoods & communities with higher density housing, a mix of housing types & household income levels, sidewalks,proximity to stores & restaurants, accessibility to transit options & other “smart growth” features associated with well-designed urban areas.”

Nelson predicts that there will be a surplus of between 3 million & 22 million homes on large lots (built on one-sixth of an acre or more) by 2025. He & other experts foresee these big homes in the exurbs eroding in value, with many of them being subdivided into multiple units.

From "Grand Plans for Rail in Denver Hit a Wall of Fiscal Realities," in the NYT:

New research about the recession has also bolstered one of transit’s central premises — that highway-driven sprawl is bad for a city’s economic health. Recent studies at the University of Utah, for example, concluded that foreclosure rates in the Washington area were much lower in counties served by the Metro rail system, compared with the next ring of counties farther out, and that home prices in Phoenix had also fallen in direct proportion to the distance from downtown.

“The underlying lesson is that the further out you go, the more vulnerable you are to losing value in your home,” said Arthur C. Nelson, presidential professor of city and metropolitan planning at the university and author of the research. “Locating near transit and near urban centers is the safer investment.”

Anybody have links to the research papers?

Tags: cities

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