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7474Re: [carfree_cities] Status Anxiety

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Jul 1, 2004
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      Continuing, TJ said:

      > > Construction financing for an unconventional project will be more expensive
      >> > and difficult to obtain.
      >>Unless we can find an insurance company that believes in the need
      >>for this....
      >How would this make obtaining construction financing less difficult or less

      The insurance companies are freaking out about global warming.
      Swiss Re (one of the largest reinsurers) recently expressed its
      alarm (I think there's an article in Carfree Times). These folks
      will be looking for a way to invest their received premiums in
      projects that don't contribute to, or better yet, help reduce,
      global warming. It may not make it any/much less expensive to
      borrow, but it should make it easier.

      >> > Most sites that have the desired proximity to shops, services and public
      >> > transit, will be relatively expensive. High land costs will completely
      >> > wipe out any potential savings from less car infrastructure, as
      >> compared to
      >> > suburban development.
      >>In California, I'm not so sure this equation would hold. Buildable
      >>land is now so expensive that the costs of building, say, 4 houses
      >>on one acre as compared to building, say, 40 apartments would almost
      >>certainly yield a lower per-unit cost for the carfree project.
      >I'm missing something here. Some developers (right here in Ventura,
      >California) continue to build detached houses at 4 units per acre, others
      >build apartments and condos at 40 dua+. The land for both project types is
      >"expensive", but the land being considered for higher density projects, is
      >much more expensive than land proposed for suburban development. Are you
      >suggesting building a carfree project in the 'burbs? ....or praying for
      >cheap land in a city?

      I guess we need to talk numbers. Is the urban land ten times as
      expensive as rural (but developable) land in Ventura?

      > > >I thus see lots of working and middle-class urbanites who would
      > > >snap up carfree housing if it became available, especially at a
      > > >lower price than sprawl (possibly half the price, given that
      > > >rooms would be smaller than in the 'burbs).
      >Honestly, where could you possibly imagine making carfree housing available
      >at a lower price than sprawl?

      Well, practically anywhere. IIRC there's a cost reduction to
      the developer in the range of $10,000 per unit when moving
      from single-family sprawl to medium-density condos. (See
      Carfree Cities for the reference.) That ought to help. Then,
      you cut the cost of road building by a very large factor.
      No garages/carports (I guess people don't do carports any more?)
      So, sure, I think we can do this at lower prices in practically
      any market. It would be useful to be able to prove this with
      numbers, but I can't get to this for years. Any construction
      estimators out there who want to take this on?


      -- ### --

      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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