Thursday, July 27, 2006

Spaghetti O...

Doug Miller -- columnist for the Flier/Times -- delves into the realm of growth today with a piece about The Sun's housing shortage series from earlier this week. Now, I disagree with almost everything he says, but I figured I'd give you a chance to comment first (really, I don't have time to write anything...but that's an excuse I've used far too often recently).


roscoe said...

Hayduke, I found this article difficult to follow--I saw skepticism about the Sun's forecast of a big housing shorage, then a simple statement (and apparent agreemtn as I read it) of the policy paradox of the counties' courting jobs and limiting new housing (with numbers to support the latter in HC), then a complaint about too much growth in HC, then BRAC mitigating growth because folks already here will fill the jobs, etc. Can you explain?

Anonymous said...

I can explain, Roscoe. The Flier article:
- summarized the Sun's housing series,
- presented the policy paradox (spend public funds to promote economic growth while restricting residential growth to avoid sprawl,environmental spoil,school/road congestion) that contributes to the expected shortage,
- discusses BRAC (an example of growth that was actively pursued) and some folks opinions that less growth will occur from it because local folks will take the BRAC jobs,
- and suggests a solution to this expected housing shortage problem is to not promote economic growth to the extent that it would cause housing shortages.

Finally, the article asks:
"Maybe the question is not whether to ratchet up jobs or housing, but whether to encourage both to cool down. The local economy seems to be humming along just fine. Would it kill us to let some jobs go to West Virginia (or western Maryland, even)?"

The article's question closely follows my comment on yesterday's I (heart) Suburban Life... post, basically don't build such a job base here that it outstrips our capacity to balance everything else we need - adequate affordable housing, adequate school capacity, safe and uncongested transportation, and environmental stewardship. Should we compromise any of our other needs because we want to stick every last business or employee of a local or regional business in Howard County?

Economic growth isn't the golden goose. It's just one of the flock, the rest being quality of life, cost of living, good schools, safe transit, etc. Further, in a sustainable economy, economic growth is a gosling compared to wise economic change - businesses that adapt to thrive instead of relying on unsustainable continued growth to do so.

In this vein, Howard County not being a beggar with all it's current positive attributes, can certainly be a chooser relative to growth. It's done so before.