Cities

Residential on-site carsharing and off-street parking: The case of the San Francisco Bay Area

Residential on-site carsharing and off-street parking: The case of the San Francisco Bay Area
Transportation Research Record, 2359, 68-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.3141/2359-09

Rivasplata C, Z Guo, R Lee, D Keyton
11/28/2013

This research explores the recent practice of connecting on-site carsharing service with off-street parking standards in multifamily developments; the San Francisco Bay Area, California, is used as a case study. If implemented well, such a policy could help boost the carsharing industry and reduce off-street parking, which is often criticized as being oversupplied as a result of excessive off-street parking standards. In 2011, the authors surveyed all carsharing sites in the Bay Area and all new residential developments (completed after 2000) with on-site carsharing spaces. The results showed that a significant number of carsharing spaces were located on residential properties, but 70% of the spaces had been retrofitted into existing buildings. For the new developments, on-site carsharing did not result in a reduction in the amount of regular off-street parking. Interviews with 15 professionals from three stakeholder groups (planners, developers, and service providers) revealed that even though all the stakeholders were in favor of on-site carsharing at residential developments, three major barriers existed: a lack of incentives, the complexity of access design, and high transaction costs.

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia
W. W. Norton & Company

Anthony M. Townsend
10/07/2013

An unflinching look at the aspiring city-builders of our smart, mobile, connected future.

We live in a world defined by urbanization and digital ubiquity, where mobile broadband connections outnumber fixed ones, machines dominate a new "internet of things," and more people live in cities than in the countryside. In Smart Cities, urbanist and technology expert Anthony Townsend takes a broad historical look at the forces that have shaped the planning and design of cities and information technologies from the rise of the great industrial cities of the nineteenth century to the present. A century ago, the telegraph and the mechanical tabulator were used to tame cities of millions. Today, cellular networks and cloud computing tie together the complex choreography of mega-regions of tens of millions of people.

In response, cities worldwide are deploying technology to address both the timeless challenges of government and the mounting problems posed by human settlements of previously unimaginable size and complexity. In Chicago, GPS sensors on snow plows feed a real-time "plow tracker" map that everyone can access. In Zaragoza, Spain, a "citizen card" can get you on the free city-wide Wi-Fi network, unlock a bike share, check a book out of the library, and pay for your bus ride home. In New York, a guerrilla group of citizen-scientists installed sensors in local sewers to alert you when stormwater runoff overwhelms the system, dumping waste into local waterways.

As technology barons, entrepreneurs, mayors, and an emerging vanguard of civic hackers are trying to shape this new frontier, Smart Cities considers the motivations, aspirations, and shortcomings of them all while offering a new civics to guide our efforts as we build the future together, one click at a time.

Curb Parking Pricing for Local Residents: An Exploration in New York City Based on Willingness to Pay

Curb Parking Pricing for Local Residents: An Exploration in New York City Based on Willingness to Pay
Transport Policy

Guo, Zhan and S Mcdonnell
09/16/2013

This paper investigates the feasibility of charging residents for on-street parking in dense urban neighborhoods as a way to clear parking supply and demand. We elicited residents’ willingness to pay (WTP) for a hypothetical parking permit program in New York City using a payment card approach, and estimate the key determinants through a Double Hurdle model. A little more than half of respondents (52.5%) are willing to pay for an average $408 per year, even though the revenue is not specified to be return back to the neighborhoods. Pricing becomes more acceptable in neighborhoods where the major parking problem is shortage and crowding caused mainly by local residents instead of parking intrusion by non-residents. The WTP value varies by resident car ownership and home parking types. The results suggest that curb parking pricing for local residents might be both economically and politically feasible in certain dense urban neighborhoods.

Race and neighborhoods in the 21st century: What does segregation mean today?

Race and neighborhoods in the 21st century: What does segregation mean today?
Regional Science and Urban Economics (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2013.09.006

De la Roca, Jorge, Ingrid Gould Ellen and Katherine M. O'Regan.
09/14/2013

Noting the decline in segregation between blacks and whites over the past several decades, some recent work argues that racial segregation is no longer a concern in the 21st century. In response, this paper revisits some of the concerns that John Quigley raised about racial segregation and neighborhoods to assess their relevance today. We note that while segregation levels between blacks and whites have certainly declined, they remain quite high; Hispanic and Asian segregation have meanwhile remained unchanged. Further, our analysis shows that the neighborhood environments of minorities continue to be highly unequal to those enjoyed by whites. Blacks and Hispanics continue to live among more disadvantaged neighbors, to have access to lower performing schools, and to be exposed to more violent crime. Further, these differences are amplified in more segregated metropolitan areas.

Shifting the Burden: Examining the Undertaxation of Some of the Most Valuable Properties in New York City

Shifting the Burden: Examining the Undertaxation of Some of the Most Valuable Properties in New York City
Furman Center Policy Brief; July 2013

The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy
07/02/2013

Some of New York City’s most valuable properties in its highest-cost neighborhoods are significantly and persistently undervalued, according to Shifting the Burden. The report identifies 50 individual co-ops in 46 buildings that were sold in 2012 for more than the New York City Department of Finance’s estimate of the market value of the entire building. This undervaluation has significant consequences for the distribution of tax burdens in New York City.

Not Just for Poor Kids: The Impact of Universal Free School Breakfast on Meal Participation and Student Outcomes

Not Just for Poor Kids: The Impact of Universal Free School Breakfast on Meal Participation and Student Outcomes
Economics of Education Review, 36: 88-107

Leos-Urbel, J., Schwartz, A. E., Weinstein, M., & Corcoran, S.
06/18/2013

This paper examines the impact of the implementation of a universal free school breakfast policy on meals program participation, attendance, and academic achievement. In 2003, New York City made school breakfast free for all students regardless of income, while increasing the price of lunch for those ineligible for meal subsidies. Using a difference-indifference estimation strategy, we derive plausibly causal estimates of the policy’s impact by exploiting within and between group variation in school meal pricing before and after the policy change. Our estimates suggest that the policy resulted in small increases in breakfast participation both for students who experienced a decrease in the price of breakfast and for free-lunch eligible students who experienced no price change. The latter suggests that universal provision may alter behavior through mechanisms other than price, highlighting the potential merits of universal provision over targeted services. We find limited evidence of policy impacts on academic outcomes.

Residential Street Parking and Car Ownership

Residential Street Parking and Car Ownership
Journal of the American Planning Association 79.1 (2013): 32-48.

Guo, Zhan.
05/09/2013

Problem, research strategy, and findings: Local governments’ minimum street-width standards may force developers to oversupply, and residents to pay excessively for, on-street parking in residential neighborhoods. Such oversupply is often presumed to both encourage car ownership and reduce housing affordability, although little useful evidence exists either way. This article examines the impact of street-parking supply on the car ownership of households with off-street parking in the New York City area.

The off- and on-street parking supply for each household was measured through Google Street View and Bing Maps. The impact of on-street parking on car ownership levels was then estimated in an innovative multivariate model. The unique set-up of the case study ensures 1) the weak endogeneity between parking supply and car ownership and 2) the low correlation between off-street and on-street parking supply, two major methodological challenges of the study. Results show that free residential street parking increases private car ownership by nearly 9%; that is, the availability of free street parking explains 1 out of 11 cars owned by households with off-street parking.

Takeaway for practice: These results offer support for community street standards that make on-street parking supply optional. They also suggest the merits of leaving the decisions of whether, and how many, on-street parking spaces to provide in new residential developments to private markets rather than regulations.

Research support: This project was supported by grants from the University Transportation Research Center (Region 2) and the Wagner School Faculty Research Fund.

How New York Housing Policies Are Different -- and Maybe Why

How New York Housing Policies Are Different -- and Maybe Why
In Andrew Beveridge and David Halle, New York City-Los Angeles: The Uncertain Future. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Ellen, I.G. & O'Flaherty, B.
05/07/2013

Almost everyone says New York City is exceptional, and many people think that housing is one of the most exceptional aspects of New York life. But New York’s housing conditions are not so different from those in other large US cities, or at least not in the ways that are commonly believed. Policies, not conditions, are what truly set New York’s housing market apart.  Our aim in this chapter is to describe New York City’s policies, to explore how and why they differ from those in Los Angeles and other large cities, and whether they have shaped how New York City’s housing market has weathered the recent downturn. The policies we consider are public housing, in rem properties, other subsidized housing, rent regulation, housing allowances, city capital subsidies for construction and rehabilitation, special needs housing, local tax structures, and building codes. Do unusual housing market conditions lead to these unusual policies? Do some common factors cause both unusual policies and conditions? Naturally, we cannot answer these questions definitively. But we can offer some alternative explanations.

From minimum to maximum: The impact of parking standard reform on residential parking supply in London

From minimum to maximum: The impact of parking standard reform on residential parking supply in London
Urban Studies, 50 (6), 1181 - 1198. doi: 10.1177/0042098012460735

Guo, Z and S Ren
05/01/2013

This research examines residential parking supply in London before and after the minimum off-street parking standard was replaced by a maximum one in 2004. Based on 11 428 residential developments after and 216 developments before the reform, it is found that parking supply was reduced by approximately 40 per cent. Ninety-eight per cent was caused by the removal of the minimum standard, while only 2 per cent was due the imposition of the maximum standard. However, the parking supply is actually higher in areas with the highest density and the best transit service than in the areas immediately outside; the adopted maximum standard follows a similar pattern. The market-oriented approach to parking regulation can reduce excessive parking, but it depends on the particular sub-markets. Complementary policies such as strict parking maxima, on-street parking controls and parking taxes are often necessary to form an efficient parking market.

Do Small Schools Improve Performance in Large, Urban Districts? Casual Evidence from New York City

Do Small Schools Improve Performance in Large, Urban Districts? Casual Evidence from New York City
Journal of Urban Economics, 77: 27-40

Schwartz, A. E., Stiefel, L., & Wiswall, M.
04/10/2013

We evaluate the effectivness of small high school reform in the country's largest school district, New York City. Using a rich administrative datasest for multiple cohorts of students and distance between student residence and school to instrument for endogenous school selection, we find substantial heterogeneity in school effects: newly created small schools have positive effects of graduation and some other educational outcomes while older small schools do not. Importantly, we show that ignoring this source of treatment effect heterogeneity by assuming a common small school effect yields a misleading zero effect of small school attendance.

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