Housing regulations, more than those that bind standard businesses, explain the Sunbelt’s population growth.
That's the conclusion of economist Edward L. Glaeser in the NYTimes Economix. He uses census information to frame his idea that land use regulations impact housing supply and a cheap housing supply is the measure of a triumphant city - the title of his book. The construction industry must adore this guy. Here's the money paragraph:
A rich body of research shows that regulation, which is intense in the Northeast and California but lax in the Sunbelt, explains why housing is supplied so readily down South. The future shape of America is being driven not by quality of life or economic success but by the obscure rules regulating local land use.
The rules are so obscure he can't name them. Except for passing reference to the absence of zoning in Houston, the specific regulations constraining urban triumphalism remain consistently mysterious straight through his links.
I'm no Paul Krugman, but this jumps the shark for urban theory. It doesn't make sense even if you completely ignore the role of finance, speculative money, public bonds and subsidies for utility and water system expansions and road projects.
If New York and Massachusetts want to stop losing congressional seats, then they must revisit the rules that make it so difficult to build. High prices show that the demand would be there if the supply is unleashed.
Unleash the hounds on the planner!