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Ben Carson and the Future of Cities »

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While pundits are focused on their primary feuds, a more important question is whether HUD’s mission will change under Carson’s tenure. On the surface, Carson’s appointment might seem to be a simple patronage job, a reward...
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The Prime Importance of Private Property Rights »

Imagine for a moment you decide to rent out a room in your home to another person. There are two parties in the contract—the landlord (you) and the tenant. You both agree to the lease and sign the contract. Things are going fine, but then, your tenant stops paying their rent. The solution to...
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Love Gov: “Too Real”? »

As part of our recent exhibit at the FreedomFest conference, we continuously screened our new online video series Love Gov. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, each of the approximately 5-minute episodes deals with one of the five key issues that the Harvard Institute of Politics, Pew Research, and other...
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Fascism Is Efficient, Says Andres Duany, Leading Proponent of “Sustainable Development” »

It goes by many names: “sustainable development,” “smart growth,” “transit-oriented development,” to name a few. But development projects built under the banner of “sustainability” share the same elements: high-density residential housing and high-intensity commercial space (so-called mixed use) clustered near capital-intensive mass transit lines surrounded by government-owned “open space” and, increasingly, government-imposed “urban growth...
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A “Smart-Growth” Revolt in California »

On June 18, the Larkspur City Council voted unanimously to kill a high-density “smart-growth” development plan for this community of 12,000 people 16 miles north of San Francisco. The plan called for building 39,500 square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of hotel space, 77,500 square feet of retail space, and up to...
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There He Goes Again! »

Midterm elections are looming on the horizon and it therefore should not be surprising that President Obama is in the market for votes to stave off the loss of a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate or gain a working Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. An above-the-fold, front-page article in Wednesday’s...
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Immigrants and Poor Kids Aren’t to Blame for Poor PISA Performance »

Recently I wrote about the latest PISA results for American 15-year-olds in reading, math, and science. (See PISA Results Show We’re No. 1...in Spending, Not Performance.) One commenter stated that she saw “very little control for demographics” with international assessments such as PISA. In particular, the commenter objected that while other countries may surpass...
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Victory! The Independent Institute’s Longtime Opposition to Inclusionary Housing Policies Lays Groundwork for Governor’s Veto »

On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 1229, a measure that would have authorized California cities and counties to establish inclusionary housing requirements as a condition of development, allowing them to force housing developers to set aside units for low-income residents. The Independent Institute, and especially its Senior Fellow Benjamin W. Powell, provided...
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The Ugly Beginning of Dodger Stadium Provides Important Property Rights Lesson »

Game three of the National League Championship Series will be played tonight at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. TBS play-by-play announcer Ernie Johnson and others often interchangeably refer to Dodger Stadium as Chavez Ravine. But they don’t explain the stadium’s ugly beginnings. Two miles from downtown Los Angeles, Chavez Ravine had been used in...
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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Feddie Sue: What Should We Do with Them? »

Mortgage Intermediation Mortgage intermediation is an important and legitimate business, much like grocery intermediation: In theory, urban consumers could drive to the country to buy groceries directly from farmers, or farmers could go door to door selling produce, but in practice it’s usually more convenient if farmers sell their products wholesale to intermediaries who...
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