Category: Housing

Concluding NLC’s Delegation to Europe: Day 5 [Hamburg, Germany]

After a full week of traveling, touring, meetings, and presentations we reach the end of NLC’s International Sustainability Exchange. We began our day with a meeting at the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment where delegates engaged with leading authorities on efforts that the City of Hamburg is taking to reduce carbon emissions while at

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Local Officials behind Growing Support for CDBG, but Process and Partisanship Remain Significant Challenge

For the 7000 cities and towns that receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds each year, directly or indirectly, concerns are growing that that the foundation for transformative community projects is beginning to crumble.  Over the last two years, Congress has cut funding for the CDBG program over 25 percent, from about $4 billion to

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Innovation and Cities: Reframing the Dialogue

The first installment in a series on “Innovation and Cities” These are tough times for cities, economically and politically.  Our own research points to a period of managed retrenchment where city leaders are confronted with undesirable choices — cuts in vital services, laying off personnel, delaying needed infrastructure investments, to name a few.  But, times

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Screaming for Housing Demolition

In a country that cannot adequately house all of its citizens, both government and private-sector actors will bulldoze more than two million homes in the time before us. Implemented on a vast scale already thanks to dollars from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), the pace of demolition will quicken as the winter months recede. It

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President’s Housing Proposal Would Help Cities, But Congress Unlikely to Cooperate

In the State of the Union President Obama announced the Administration’s latest proposal to help struggling homeowners lower mortgage payments; and help neighborhoods hard hit by vacant and abandoned housing.  Unlike existing programs that target assistance to homeowners at high risk of foreclosure, the new proposal is aimed directly at middle class homeowners who may

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The Goal is Diverse Housing Choices

Housing has always been complicated; it’s just that most folks never really noticed until the decades-old pattern of increasing home construction and increasing home values came to a blinding, crashing halt. Now the complexity is abundantly apparent – rent or own, access to credit, overleveraged mortgage loans, accurate risk underwriting, affordability, proximity to employment, patterns

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Building Affordable Housing is Risky Business

Please note: This post is a collaboration between James Brooks and Michael Wallace at NLC.  For the past two days, The Washington Post has lambasted the Department of Housing and Urban Development and local housing authorities and community development corporations for failing to adequately manage programs that build or rehabilitate affordable housing. There is a

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Which Comes First: the Neighbors or the Neighborhood?

The stretch of land has all the attributes to warm the cockles of a city planner’s heart. Bordering the west side is a major sports venue and the nescient development that often accompanies such a facility. At the eastern edge is a moderate density mixed-use federal government property having a significant historical presence and value.

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We All Might Want to Walk to Breakfast

I’m supposed to want a rambling four bedroom colonial with a two-car garage on a cul-de-sac, given my demographics of age, marital status and educational achievement. Big surprise: that’s not what I want. Seriously, who actually wants to get in the car every time there is a need for a loaf of bread, a light

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An Essential Role for Fannie and Freddie

For all the talk about reform of the mortgage finance system, the anticipated changes to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are likely to be rather modest. In the run-up to Secretary Geithner’s end-of-January deadline to offer a proposal to Congress, only two options are under serious consideration to support the goal of ensuring long-term liquidity

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