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Revenge of Unenlightened Finance Policy

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John Norquist and Benjamin Schulman of the Congress for the New Urbanism put together a fine, straighforward article chastising the Federal Housing Administration for failing to evolve financing rules to favor mixed-use development. The authors laud Mayor Emanuel for, in their estimation, bravely combating budget deficits and the housing crisis, but argue the best way to grow the tax base is to have federal policy that encourages "main streets". Chicago is basically one big jumble of main streets per the mixed-use, walkable, transit-oriented definition, and these economically diverse streets have fared better in the recession than single-use non-urban environments. Population growth and a new interest in mixed-use living are boosting demand for dense urban housing but, say the authors, development incentives get it all wrong. [Metropolitan Planning Council]