Housing Affordability & Smart Cities

A little conspiracy theory is good for helping us question the status quo.  The greater the number of people telling us something is so great, the faster we should start asking  who, what, why, and who benefits.  Compact, supposedly “sustainable” cities are being promoted by planners not only as wonderful places in which we all want to live, but also solutions to astronomically expensive housing.  If such dense cities are also “smart cities,” all the better.  We invite you to ask, “Really?”

….more and more it’s becoming apparent that to be modern, to be contemporary, to be cutting edge, buying and owning things is a bug not a feature. Buying and owning things prevents you from monetizing tomorrow, let alone optimizing today.  Ben Pring, Leasing the Future, Huffington Post.

Every digital click, swipe, “like”, buy, comment and search produces a unique virtual identity – something we call a Code Halo™. While Code Halos are important to each of us, they are becoming increasingly vital to the success of every business. A new book from our Center for the Future of Work reveals how organizations can catalyze business with Code Halo thinking.  Cognizant Technologies

We all have a personal responsibility to adapt to changing housing markets. For some, this will require adjusting our savings and spending patterns, our expectations regarding home size, access to ground/yards and distance from work or school. For others, it may require adapting expectations regarding the evolution of our neighborhood character, or the personal equity gains derived from the housing market.  10 Common Ground Principles for Affordable Housing, Smart Cities Dive

To what extent have businesses today bought into the theory that in order to survive in today’s market, they need to track everybody’s every move? Businesses could be content with convincing health-conscious consumers to wear a fitness tracker at all times, or businesses could amass enough political donation power to change the way cities are built in order to facilitate maximum interconnectivity.

For example, California’s Bay Area Silicon Valley is home to technology giants, as well as sophisticated business-led public policy advocacy organizations that aggressively support dense housing in limited spaces. California has taken to heart draconian policies that limits land use, establishes vast protected areas off limits to development, and invests taxpayer money in dense subsidized housing located in “transit corridors.” Also, California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, experiences a housing market that is totally unaffordable. Therefore, it would seem that land use policies such as Plan Bay Area beg the questions,

* Does limited space on which to build result in higher housing prices, and calls for government-subsidized and government-preferred development?

* Is there a relationship between government-preferred development and political support from dominant technology giants?

* Does proximity facilitate interconnectivity, supposedly so crucial to business success?

* Does the current generation truly see ownership as a “bug not a feature,” or is the generation being sold a bill of goods?

So, just in case voters perceive even a remote relationship between efforts such as Code Halo and how much they are paying for housing, what to do? Simply remember that there is a choice whether to wear a fitness bracelet, vote for “affordable housing” bonds to support narrow housing corridors, or re-elect anyone who has specialized in proposing legislation that removes your control of where or how you live.