Greater Greater Washington

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DC grows by 83,000 residents in 10 years

Ten years ago, DC Mayor Anthony Williams famously set a goal of attracting 100,000 new DC residents within a decade. Pundits scoffed, but the latest population estimates show we made it closer than most imagined possible.


DC population change graph. Image from Google.

The official US Census population estimate for DC in 2003 was 563,384. The latest estimate for 2013 is 646,449. That's an increase of 83,065.

In 2003, DC's population was still shrinking. It had been about 569,000 in 2002, and 572,000 in 2000. Young single people had started flocking to some parts of DC, but families leaving for the suburbs still outnumbered people moving in and being born. Halting the decline seemed possible, maybe even likely, but growing by 100,000 people in a decade seemed outrageously optimistic.

And to be fair, we didn't quite make it. 83,000 isn't 100,000. But it's awfully impressive, awfully close. Far more than just about anybody thought possible.

DC's population peaked at 802,178 in 1950, then declined for the next half century. If today's impressive growth rate continues into the future, we'll catch up and surpass the 1950 high sometime in the mid 2020s.

We'll have to keep up impressive growth to meet Mayor Gray's goal of 250,000 new residents by 2032.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a professional transportation planner for the Arlington County Department of Transportation. He has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and lives a car-free lifestyle in Northwest Washington. His posts are his own opinions and do not represent the views of his employer in any way. He runs the blog BeyondDC and also contributes to the Washington Post Local Opinions blog. 

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We have to reconsider what a single family home is. In the 1950s, we had 5 or more people living in a house. We aren't going back to that. We have to smart about density, build schools, housing and transit options in places where we want them not randomly.

by Randall M. on Dec 31, 2013 12:25 pm • linkreport

Change in household/family size is definitely a major factor for consideration.

by BTA on Dec 31, 2013 12:47 pm • linkreport

The Census figure of 646,000 was from July 2013. It is probably safe to say that DC has over 650,000 residents now.

by 202_cyclist on Dec 31, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

Does anyone know how many units of housing are currently under construction in the District?

by 202_cyclist on Dec 31, 2013 12:53 pm • linkreport

"DC's population peaked at 802,178 in 1950"

I believe the population actually did hit 900,000 in 1943, but that was just an estimate. It declined drastically after World War II, leaving the city at 802k in the 1950 Census.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 31, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

I am moving to DC when my lease is up in April. I am either buying a condo or moving into the new Monroe St Market apartments. I am a young 40, have no kids and have no idea why I continued to live in the burbs for so long (western Fairfax). I'm sick of it. Give me the city, give me the metro! I have lived in NoVA for eleven years, DC is so attractive lately I can't stay away any longer.

by DC_bound on Dec 31, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport

Last I read we were averaging something like 5000 new units a year lately but I'm not sure if that counts units lost in the redevelopment process.

by BTA on Dec 31, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

"We have to reconsider what a single family home is."

Plenty of single family homes are being split in multi-unit structures all the time now in DC. So, yes. We don't have 5 or more people living in a single family "house", but we can now have 5 people living in multi-unit structure that was formerly a single family home.

DC ranks #5 for cities over 500,000 population in percentage of housing units in multi-unit structures. It is currently at 63.3 as of 2012%.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/188213627/2012-Housing-Characteristics-of-US-Cities-over-500-000-Persons

This trend is also a contributor to DC's ability to absorb more population and should not be discounted.

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

DC_bound is bound for something I bet a lot of people cannot afford: http://www.monroestreetmarket.com/

by JDC on Dec 31, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

Great then, he/she will free up an existing older space for someone else.

by drumz on Dec 31, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

They have 1 BRs from 1699. I bet a lot of 40 YO singles can afford that.

Heck, at $2,199 for a 1 BR plus den with 2 baths, it might even work for us.

by EmptyNester on Dec 31, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

BTA:

"Last I read we were averaging something like 5000 new units a year lately but I'm not sure if that counts units lost in the redevelopment process."

Perhaps you're correct but I read on JD Land that just in the Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard neighborhood alone, there will be almost 1,900 units under construction in the next two years. 5,000 new units city-wide seems low to me.

by 202_cyclist on Dec 31, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

The remarkable thing is that it seems like a lot of the new people in the last 1-2 years have been young familes with babies. Hopefully this will great a constituency for improved public education in DC. If we had decent schools (in addition to the good schools in Ward 3) DC's population would really explode.

by 202_cyclist on Dec 31, 2013 1:15 pm • linkreport

"Does anyone know how many units of housing are currently under construction in the District?"

There are about 10,000 housing units under construction in DC right now, according to the Washington DC Economic Partnership.

Also, a factor that should not be ignored is the fact that we started this decade in 2010 with 30,000 vacant housing units. This is also a contributor to DC's ability to absorb dramatic population growth. DC could have theoretically add 50,000 more people to its population since 2010 without a single new housing unit being built if every one of those units were filled.

Here are my back of the envelope numbers:

30,000 vacant units
65,000 new units under construction or in near, medium, long term planning

95,000 units without pressure on the height limit. And, then there's even more in-fill opportunities beyond that.

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

revitalizer:
"95,000 units without pressure on the height limit. And, then there's even more in-fill opportunities beyond that."

So, about a decade and a half worth of growth. We could be smart about the Height Act and allow modestly taller buildings (such as the same size as those directly across the street in Maryland) for locations like Van Ness and Friendship Heights.

With the WMATA bus garage, Lord & Taylor lot, and other underutilized sites, Friendship Heights is a very good location to accomodate future demand for housing, especially if we could have 15-18 story buildings right next to the metro station.

by 202_cyclist on Dec 31, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

Re Revitalizer:

That's a nice statistic but unlike those other places we are confined by boarders and height. You're suggesting that we can increase the District's population by adding more small-scale density. You're probably right.

I'd like to see a multi-agency plan over 15 years that builds capacity and density along specific corridors.

Creating density corridors is something that the District sort of does (Great Streets, Zoning rewrite, and DDOT streetcars) but it doesn't seem contiguous - they don't always match up.

by Randall M. on Dec 31, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

you should probably subtract the 13,000 homeless people from that 95,000.

And I suspect that 65,000 eats up most of the easier infill opportunities WOTR.

Plus the price levels that make those 65,000 new units possible, are ones that have led to rapid gentrification. Absent high prices, and gentrification, the many new developments would not have occurred in Logan Circle, for example. Or Shaw. Certainly the many new units in Navy Yard, mentioned above, are possible because the housing project is not there (the units are supposed to all be replaced, but sadly that is still delayed).

DC can certainly accommodate significant population growth under the current height limit. However to pretend that the combination of the increased demand to live in DC, and the height limit (and other constrainst on development) has not effects, negative ones for many people, is incorrect. Certainly the increased prices have changed the character of DC - at least of the neighborhoods that have "transitioned" in the last ten to fifteen years.

by VacantUnits on Dec 31, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

"Plenty of single family homes are being split in multi-unit structures all the time now in DC. So, yes. We don't have 5 or more people living in a single family "house", but we can now have 5 people living in multi-unit structure that was formerly a single family home."

Yet another example of how the combination of increased demand for living in DC, and the constraints on development, are changing the character of DC. Fewer places where a family can find an affordable single family (attached or detached) house.

by VacantUnits on Dec 31, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

Pardon. 13,000 is for the metro area. Not sure how many of those are current or former DC residents.

by VacantUnits on Dec 31, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

"So, about a decade and a half worth of growth."

This depends on DC's sustained growth rate going forward. There are those that believe it will slow dramatically. I am not in that camp, however.

My thought is that DC could hold about 1 million people without a change to the height limit.

Note: I am, however, an advocate for changes to be made now to the height limit. I also think people are setting an artificially low ceiling as to how big this city could be.

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 1:37 pm • linkreport

My pie-in-the-sky wish for where some of the housing to accomodate the new residents could go is to deck over I-395, remove the coal-fired power plant and build housing there, and building housing on the large surface parking lots behind the House office buildings. Combined, you could probably build 10,000 units of housing in an area that is close to several metro stations.

by 202_cyclist on Dec 31, 2013 1:41 pm • linkreport

Re VacantUnits:

DC has a tradition of mixing single and multifamily homes. At some point; however, we may have to reconsider a single family dwelling is. Must it be the idealistically engrained detach house or something else?

While I think your concern regarding the dearth of affordable homes is an important issue, the creation of more housing, regardless of what type it is, helps lower the cost of all housing.

The District needs a balanced plan: allowing market forces to help create more housing, investing in projects that sustain "affordable housing" and creating the key structures (transportation, education, healthcare, public safety) that spur development increase the attractiveness of the District.

by Randall M. on Dec 31, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

@ DC Bound - welcome!

@ Emptynester -you check out Anacostia yet?

by h st ll on Dec 31, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

Re revitalizer:

I'm with you on the 1 million figure from a pure capacity perspective. However, we'd have to fundamentally change how those people move from one place to another within the District. We aren't there yet.

by Randall M. on Dec 31, 2013 1:50 pm • linkreport

Randall

I think we are in agreement on the need for more new multifamily development. My concern is that many people do not see that urgency, and see the further subdivision of houses (rowhouse as well as detached houses) as a solution to providing more units. While some of that is probably inevitable, it means fewer houses (fewer rowhouses, not just traditional detached SFHs) for families. Some families will of course choose to raise children in condos/apartments. But not that many will, especially as long as townhouses, at least, in the inner and middle suburbs are relatively affordable. That means few families in the city (except the most affluent). That represents a change in the city's character. That needs to be weighed against other changes in the city's character.

by VacantUnits on Dec 31, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

Re 202_cyclist:

Also Reservation 13 (RFK) and the US Airman's home (eventually, it will close...)

by Randall M. on Dec 31, 2013 1:52 pm • linkreport

You can't assume that we will fill all of the vacant housing units. There will always be (and should be) some slack in the system, just as an economy at full employment will have an unemployment rate that isn't 0%.

Likewise, just because a unit is counted as vacant for the Census doesn't mean it's available. People are only supposed to be counted once in the Census; a person that owns multiple homes may own one in DC, but holds their primary residence elsewhere.

If you're looking to rent an apartment in DC, that second home won't be available to you even if the Census counts it as vacant. And of the apartments that are available to you, the vacancy rate is incredibly low: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/second-tier-apartment-vacancy-remains-chronically-low-but-rent-growth-is-limited/2012/08/05/afb81d3c-da62-11e1-9745-d9ae6098d493_story.html

by Alex B. on Dec 31, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

VacantUnits:

I agree with you in that some people will want more space but when has that NOT cost more money? There is a premium to be paid to live the lifestyle you suggest. I think you're question is how can we make that sort of home a little more affordable for what I will call "the middle class"?

District, working with the housing industry, should continue to help build traditional single homes. (See EYA development in Brookland) http://www.eya.com/Chancellors_Row_at_Brookland_Metro. They will not be affordable but building them will likely relieve pressure from older homes. We also need high rise, garden and other multifamily options. To put it another way, we should strive for a surplus of at least 2 percent over the needed housing.

Also, we need to focus on helping lower-income people stay in their homes. The homestead deduction is a great tool but we can do more.

by Randall M. on Dec 31, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

Census Bureau says DC netted about 3,500 additional housing units between April 2010 and July 2012. 2013 housing stats aren't out yet.

by BTDT on Dec 31, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

It's interesting that the combined populations of Fairfax, Montgomery, and Prince George's County have gone from about 1 million to 3 million since the 1960 census. If you include Arlington and Alexandria the core used to have about half of the regional population. Now it's like 20%. Thats got to be one of the lowest urban/suburban ratios in the country.

by BTA on Dec 31, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

Thats got to be one of the lowest urban/suburban ratios in the country.

Well, the dividing line you've chosen between what is urban vs. what is suburban is completely arbitrary.

by Alex B. on Dec 31, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

Realistically, a lot of the population growth will be accomodated by the inner suburbs, especially as they urbanize more, becoming defacto extentions of DC. On the other hand, it isn't realistic to think we will be able to keep the suburban character of many DC neighborhoods, at least where they connect to corridors.

by Thayer-D on Dec 31, 2013 2:16 pm • linkreport

My wife and I did our part and added a +1.

by rabbithutch on Dec 31, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

Lost in this glowing PR is the realization that DC's growth records are already behind it. This YoY growth rate has fallen nearly 20% over its peak

I've scratched my head, trying to figure out why so many thought the growth of ~2009-2012 was a "new paradigm", and that it would continue. DC office of planning is equally as guilty with their ridiculous projections published last month and used to support repeal of the height act. This new growth rate for 2012/2013 meets their middle criteria.

DC's renaissance the past 5 years was simply a severe reaction of the national recession, and was borne by the fact that DC was the only place people nationwide could find a job. With the recovery of the national economy, that has changed. Expect the growth rate to further stagnate, severely in the next two years as there are other national options of employment, and everyone isn't forced to come to DC for work.

DC's growth rate from 2002 to 2009 averaged out to 200 new residents a month, and that was during the largest boom DC had seen since the second WW, yet during the recessions aftermath (2009-2012) that growth rate increased 6 fold, and everyone suddenly thought that was normal. So odd.

Expect to see housing and rental prices decrease, and those of you who paid eye popping prices to buy your ~800 sf of condo adjacent to a project, or otherwise "highly transitional" neighborhood, I hope you have no plans to move anytime soon.

by Maor Grayz on Dec 31, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

thanks h st II, as you can tell I am really looking forward to it.

My one bedroom in Fair Lakes near the Whole Foods is $1575 a month which includes a car port space. I am ready to pay five or six hundred more for a 1BR or studio to live in DC. Paying 1575 out in BFE feels like too much now. I already took a tour of Monroe St Market. A car space in the garage is $165 monthly extra, which is significant but I own a motorbike so that is a must.

the b*tch of it is that owning in DC would be cheaper but I have commitment issues and 'I don't want to deal with being a home owner' issues. I am looking into the 460NYA condos that are being built. we'll see. either way I'm outta Fairfax.

by DC_bound on Dec 31, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

"DC's growth rate from 2002 to 2009 averaged out to 200 new residents a month, and that was during the largest boom DC had seen since the second WW, yet during the recessions aftermath (2009-2012) that growth rate increased 6 fold, and everyone suddenly thought that was normal."

I'm sure we will hear from you each year about this time making these same points even while DC's population passes the next 100K mark.

During 2002 to 2009, DC was transitioning from a declining population to a growing population.

At this point natural increase (births minus deaths) alone get us 330 net new residents a month without domestic or international migration.

Also, the pattern we are currently in ramped up to its current level over a number of years. It did not just happen all of a sudden. A change to minimal growth from the current pattern would also not just happen all of a sudden either.

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

The idea that somehow people moved into The District because they were forced to come here is a total fallacy. Sure, people would have come to Washington for work, but they could have just lived in Maryland or Virginia like so many had chosen to do in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The city has undergone a planned and extremely focused transformation to build itself up into a place where people actually want to live and work, which is nothing short of amazing.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 31, 2013 4:24 pm • linkreport

@Maor Grayz

Thank you "Mayor" for your insight. You are right. I see it exactly as you do, maybe even more severe though. I expect if there is significant growth in the DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area, it will be focused in Tysons Corner and down the I-95 corridor in VA. I don't really know why so many people on this blog are believers in limitless growth strongly hinged on federal dollars, but your predictions will bear true. Urban redevelopment is the most heavily subsidized housing in the country.

@revitalizer
A change to minimal growth from the current pattern would also not just happen all of a sudden either.

I thought he just said that, as of last year, the growth rate has fallen from its 2009-2012 levels.

by Bill the Wanderer on Dec 31, 2013 4:25 pm • linkreport

@DC_bound
Do you work around Fair Lakes? I'm trying to figure out why you spent 11 years in some place you didn't like.
I really like Alexandria, but would move to western Fairfax in a heartbeat if I got (when I get?) a job out there.

@Alex B.
I would agree the term "suburban" itself is arbitrary; but the comment by BTA seems to go by MWCOG's definition of the "inner core."

by Rich 'n Alexandria on Dec 31, 2013 4:58 pm • linkreport

Revitalizer,

"Transitioning"? The monthly population growth rate varied between 180 and 300 people from 2002 to 2009. It was as steady as it gets for 7 years. Within an 18 month period beginning in early 2009, that growth jumped from 250 a month to nearly 1500 people a month. There was nothing slow or transitional about it. The Mayor nailed it. This "new" DC is nothing but a free money and job sugar high stemming from the federal government trying to stem the largest recession since the Great Depression. I'm not saying DC is going to revert to losing population, but it is clear that the population growth is going to revert to a more economically sustainable level, likely less than half of what it is, and based on the national economic recovery I suspect that will be within 24 months.

And lastly, this same cencus data shows us that DC went from 4th fastest growing metro to 15th, in ONE year. Pretty significant.

@Adam Lewis, of course no one "forced" anyone to live in the district, and most didn't. The District captured 13% of the DCMSAs population growth last year. The other 87% went to the burbs. As the data showed us, it was the very young and single who moved to the district. The rest, and majority went to our jurisdictional neighbors. DC is lying to itself if it thinks the growth it's seen the last few years is sustainable, or will continue, because it obviously won't. It's already stRted to decrease.

by Huh on Dec 31, 2013 5:10 pm • linkreport

@Rich n' Alexandria. Actually when I moved to the area in 2002 I lived in Sterling and worked in Chantilly, then I moved further west to Leesburg. I moved to Fairfax because now I work in Springfield.

by DC_bound on Dec 31, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

@Huh

What's your point? Before the 2000s, the burbs captured all of the DCMSA's population growth; now DC got 13%, that's huge! I'm not saying the District will continue explosive growth forever, but to say that the only reason "the District" continued to grow is because the city attracted endless supplies of young people is just totally off base.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 31, 2013 5:25 pm • linkreport

@ Huh and @Maor Grayz:

DC's growth is likely part of a larger trend of movement back to cities. Many large cities (populations over 500,000) around the country had growth rates that shot up around 2010.

There is an opinion article on the The Brookings Institute website about this from earlier this year.
http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/05/28-city-growth-frey#

Here are a list of cities where growth rates shot up (2000-2010 compared to 2010-2012):

New York City
Los Angeles
Chicago
San Diego
Dallas
San Francisco
Houston

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 5:34 pm • linkreport

I would agree the term "suburban" itself is arbitrary; but the comment by BTA seems to go by MWCOG's definition of the "inner core."

MWCOG's definition is fine, but it is also arbitrary. The larger discussion was about comparing the share of the regional population within those core jurisdictions to that of other cities in the US; since COG's definition is unique to DC (as are the political boundaries of any other city/region), there's no basis for an apples-to-apples comparison.

by Alex B. on Dec 31, 2013 5:38 pm • linkreport

Adam,

The District makes up 12% of the MSA population, so it got a smidgen more than its fair statistical share. Also, falling from 4th to 15th in terms of population growth is one year is enormously significant.

And 60 % of the people that have moved here since 2009 were younger than 35, half of that 60% was younger than 28 so yes, statisticians and planners alike agree DCs enormous population growth was powered by the young. It was great for DC, seriously... As a DC tax paying resident I am glad the enormous burden of funding this town is shared by more, but the growth was unsustainable, and DC needs to plan for that in the future.

by Huh on Dec 31, 2013 5:39 pm • linkreport

The narrative that growth in DC is just people fleeing the recession is a little undercooked, but it's almost certainly part of it.

In 2009 there was change in administration. It would be interesting to compare the change in the rate of growth in 2009 in Virginia and DC.

I doubt ARRA spending has driven any changes since that petered out by 2011 and growth continued apace after that. I'd buy that it precipitated it, but that doesn't explain DC's particularly high rate of change, as compared to the region's growth.

There's also a possibility that density is catching on. Even if it's just people with .5 spouses and .1 kids, that's a significant section of the population that's not moving to the suburbs.

by Neil Flanagan on Dec 31, 2013 5:54 pm • linkreport

You're discounting a smidgen and also missing the point. Grayz said that the only reason D.C. had explosive growth was because this was the only place you could get a job. That certainly explains the metro area's growth, it doesn't explain what caused D.C. to transform itself. It's not like Millennials came to D.C. and said to themselves, "You know, I'd really like to live next to that crack den." There was a huge push to improve city services and quality of life in this city. It just so happens that those investments started to pay off at the exact time that a large number of people decided to move into the city. Those newcomers certainly catalyzed the city's recovery but they were by no means its cause.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 31, 2013 5:59 pm • linkreport

The District makes up 12% of the MSA population, so it got a smidgen more than its fair statistical share.

But all of the objections here are about the nature of the regional growth itself (federal spending, jobs, etc), not that the District has been capturing more of that growth than it has in the past.

The region's population growth is more or less on the same trajectory that it has been from 1950-2010. That rate of growth hasn't changed much; we're just talking about changes in exactly where that growth is happening within the region.

by Alex B. on Dec 31, 2013 6:09 pm • linkreport

""Transitioning"? The monthly population growth rate varied between 180 and 300 people from 2002 to 2009."

That is not correct. The monthly population growth rate did not vary between 180 and 300 people from 2002 to 2009.

Here are the growth rates, taken directly from US Census Bureau records:

July 2002 to July 2003: -0.82% decline or -388 residents per month
July 2003 to July 2004: -0.13% decline or -62 residents per month
July 2004 to July 2005: -0.11% decline or -52 residents per month
July 2005 to July 2006: 0.63% growth or 295 residents per month
July 2006 to July 2007: 0.65% growth or 310 residents per month
July 2007 to July 2008: 1.02% growth or 486 residents per month
July 2008 to July 2009: 2.07% growth or 999 residents per month
July 2009 to July 2010: 2.18% growth or 1,075 residents per month
July 2010 to July 2011: 2.40% growth or 1,208 residents per month
July 2011 to July 2012: 2.23% growth or 1,150 residents per month
July 2012 to July 2013: 2.06% growth or 1,085 residents per month

The above data shows a definite transition from decline to growth.

And FYI: For last year's estimate, 32% of growth came from natural increase (births minus deaths), 22% from international migration, and 46% from domestic migration.

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 6:19 pm • linkreport

Revitalizer,

You just made his argument for him. Population growth per your own numbers literally doubled in one year, the first year of the recession, then continued to grow at red hot levels until the year ending 2011, and have been falling precipitously since. It seems pretty clear the massive influx of growth had nothing to do with the base economics or attractiveness of DC, and everything to do with the recession.

by Frankie D on Dec 31, 2013 6:28 pm • linkreport

@Frankie D:

See my post at 5:34pm.

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 6:31 pm • linkreport

@Alex B: "But all of the objections here are about the nature of the regional growth itself (federal spending, jobs, etc), not that the District has been capturing more of that growth than it has in the past.

The region's population growth is more or less on the same trajectory that it has been from 1950-2010. That rate of growth hasn't changed much; we're just talking about changes in exactly where that growth is happening within the region."

Now, this is a very intelligent observation.

by revitalizer on Dec 31, 2013 6:36 pm • linkreport

From 1960 to 2000 the suburbs got OVER 100% of the region's growth, since DC's population was in decline. Now they are down to just below a proportionate share of the growth. For a city with almost no vacant land,to get the same share of growth as suburbs with extensive greenfields (the fast growing suburbs are Loudoun, Prince William, Charles, etc NOT MoCo and FFX) is significant.

And the notion that DC will decline because other places get more jobs makes no sense. The new jobs elsewhere will be filled by people who are unemployed, and not currently living in DC (or metro DC). Aside from the fact that this change also happened in the central cities of several other metros. Are SF, Oakland, NYC, Chicago (the central parts) Philly (center city) also on sugar highs?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 31, 2013 8:49 pm • linkreport

The suburbs are depressing.

by Thayer-D on Dec 31, 2013 10:39 pm • linkreport

I agree that we may see small dips in growth rates as macroeconomic trends adjust, but those arguing that DC's resurgence has nothing to do with a dramatic increase in the quality of living and a nation-wide trend toward cities (that is still in its early stages) are sticking heir heads in the sand. They are also ignoring the virtuous cycle effect: as amenities proliferate, the tax base grows, and the schools improve, more and more people will choose to move into DC if they can afford to. Just 5 years ago an older coworker asked if I was a hipster when I told her I lived in the city after she told me about her commute from Manassas. The question was silly back then, but even more absurd as city living has further gained in mainstream desirability.

by dno on Jan 1, 2014 5:45 am • linkreport

Happy New Year to like minded residents of the Greater Washington Area; now back to work.

@AWalkerInTheCity
Are SF, Oakland, NYC, Chicago (the central parts) Philly (center city) also on sugar highs?
SF/Oakland=milking the creation of the internet since the 40s
NYC=strangle hold on the world's market financial markets since 1890s, only in the last 4 decades has their grip loosened
Chicago=Amassed obscene wealth during the 1860s by becoming the worlds foremost meat producer, only city you named that, has done a great job diversifying their economy over the last century.

Having described their sugar highs, the difference is they are derived on something, furthermore, their services and products are welcomed and needed the world over. Washington DC "services" are for the most part unwanted, and are funded by taxing 314 million citizens(of which only ~9 million live here). Therefore the flow of money is more likely to decrease here than the cities you named.

@Thayer-D
The suburbs are depressing.
Yeah, being able to bike to logan circle in 38 minutes, having fresh clean air, being able to walk along a creek surrounded by woods, paying less than half what Washington dc'ers pay in rent, ample parking, yep, the suburbs are very depressing.

@dno
...but those arguing that DC's resurgence has nothing to do with a dramatic increase in the quality of living and a nation-wide trend toward cities (that is still in its early stages) are sticking heir heads in the sand.

I think its tough to find agreement that urban living=higher standard/quality of living. I think the more correct assertion is that urban living is a choice, just like drinking skim versus whole milk versus no milk at all. And my macro prediction is we will see less subsidizing of urban living and more of a equalizing of prices as millennials(the renters) wise up to the fact they are getting fleeced by DC proper apartment companies and you will see "place" become less important and "family" become more important. Urban living is expensive and economically unsustainable. Standfast for a large real estate correction in Washington DC in the next 8 years.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 1, 2014 8:24 am • linkreport

"Here are a list of cities where growth rates shot up (2000-2010 compared to 2010-2012):

New York City
Los Angeles
Chicago
San Diego
Dallas
San Francisco
Houston"

About 2/3 of the cities that experienced a decline in population from 2000 to 2010 (based on census COUNTS) are projected to have gained population since 2010 (based on census ESTIMATES).

One possibility is that changes in how the Census Bureau estimates population growth between counts -- e.g. the move to greater frequency with smaller samples in the ACS -- mistake churn for growth and, as a result, systematically overestimate population in areas that have more transient populations.

It'd be useful to have the IRS's state-to-state migration data to reality-check the Census Bureau numbers, but the 2010-2011 data hasn't been released yet.

by BTDT on Jan 1, 2014 9:02 am • linkreport

@bill the wanderer

You stated: Urban redevelopment is the most heavily subsidized housing in the country

Based on what? Are you factoring in auto/road related costs and the externalities like corresponding emissions?

by William on Jan 1, 2014 9:11 am • linkreport

Adam: Where do you see that reinvestment beginning?

We might be missing how wealth is moving, not just individuals. If more, poorer families were moving out during the late 90s, but a smaller number of wealthier residents were moving in, then, DC could still see reinvestment while population shrank.

by Neil Flanagan on Jan 1, 2014 9:11 am • linkreport

@202_cyclist

Regarding more babies. I'll second that observation. In the little micro-world of my building, this is clearly the case. But sidewalks in Adams Morgan seem to have more carriages.

by kob on Jan 1, 2014 9:46 am • linkreport

Having endured the bad times, in my outpost in NE for many years, seeing the kid-filled neighborhoods empty, crime skyrocket, police turn apathetic, I am overjoyed with these changes in MY city.

by NE John on Jan 1, 2014 10:31 am • linkreport

@Bill, I meant an improvement in the quality of living in the District beginning with the Williams admin, not a comparison to the same elsewhere.

by dno on Jan 1, 2014 11:19 am • linkreport

Anthony Williams + Adrian Fenty = success

by Yups on Jan 1, 2014 1:03 pm • linkreport

Washington DC "services" are for the most part unwanted, and are funded by taxing 314 million citizens(of which only ~9 million live here). Therefore the flow of money is more likely to decrease here than the cities you named.

Let me know what government spending is sufficiently unwanted to be likely cut. Also, if you're predicting a decrease in government spending based on the eventual election of a republican president, history is not on your side. No president, R or D, has reduced government spending, at least since WWII.

The DC area isn't likely to grow at its pace from 2009-2012, but it's not likely to stop growing anytime soon. The government will continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace. Also, we have the best educated workforce in the country which is ever increasing in importance as a factor in regional growth as knowledge industries continue to account for the vast majority of national growth.

by Falls Church on Jan 1, 2014 3:05 pm • linkreport

@William
Based on what? Are you factoring in auto/road related costs and the externalities like corresponding emissions?

Based on the capital that is tied up in the upper middle class to maintain, restore and build a dense urban fabric like a Manhattan. On average the housing units cost more to produce due to the complexity and superfluous architecture that's built in urban areas. You bring up transit, how do you think all those stores/restaurants/niche shops in the central city are stocked? Furthermore transit from the periphery is implying you need/want to go to the city core on a daily basis. I'm convinced that nearly all forms of white collar offices are obsolete. Furthermore, there are forces at work that have stifled transit innovation, both old guard corporations and government regulations. No comment on environmental degradation.

@ Falls Church
No president, R or D, has reduced government spending, at least since WWII.
Bill "Slick Willie" Clinton. He also shrunk the military, and made significant reductions in the national debt. That president did more for free markets/ free trade than any other in the 20th and 21th century. He was no libertarian, but he certainly had his head screwed on straight, what a glorious time that was in America. If that's not a reason to repeal the 22nd amendment I don't know what is. This libertarian would gladly cast his vote for Bubba.

Also, we have the best educated workforce in the country which is ever increasing in importance as a factor in regional growth as knowledge industries continue to account for the vast majority of national growth.
There is growing research that the quality of educational institutions is become poorer and poorer. Most higher education is for-profit bunk anyway. Folks seem to equate rote memorization of problem set sequences, and 98 page dissertations on the most esoteric topics on earth with innovation. That it is not. Folks tied up in higher education tend to be the sloggers, the takers with little to offer society. While the doers tend to stay away from higher education and go about changing the earth for society at large and humanities future.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 1, 2014 4:56 pm • linkreport

@Bill the Wanderer

With all due respect, I am not sure where the urban redevelopment is being subsidized by your response. There are higher costs in some metrics, but it also enjoys a higher cost of living and higher wages for those who live and work there.

Subsidies to me, reflect government intervention by way of direct payment or deferred fees and taxes.

As has been the case for all of mankind, except for the period roughly from 1946 to the very recent past, humans have found more efficiency by living in compact environments. Do you honestly think it is more efficient to stock multiple retail shops with one truck trip into a city than multiple truck trips to multiple retail outlets in the suburbs or rural areas?

Your argument about white collar obsolesence ignore recent trends which suggest the era or the exurb are quickly coming to an end.

by William on Jan 1, 2014 6:00 pm • linkreport

Arguing about who is subsidized more really shouldn't be the point anyway. Besides, this isn't really about what is better: rural or urban, or even really suburban or urban, but what form of growth is better and what the actual effects of a particular subsidy is.

All things being equal it's better from an environmental and traffic mitigation standpoint for someone who is moving to the DC area for them to live in a place that it is close to transit, dense enough to be walkable, and have the necessary infrastructure (sidewalks/bike lanes/etc) to enable activities to be done without the need for a car for every trip. You're going to find way more of that in DC compared to Fairfax.

In that light, it may make sense to subsidize things that promote that over other because the effects are greater. That's why I don't fret that transit can require a bigger subsidy than driving because transit can move a much greater number of people with less/cleaner fuel.

by drumz on Jan 2, 2014 8:13 am • linkreport

Bill, I'd like to challenge some of your assertions...

"I think the more correct assertion is that urban living is a choice, just like drinking skim versus whole milk versus no milk at all. And my macro prediction is we will see less subsidizing of urban living and more of a equalizing of prices as millennials(the renters) wise up to the fact they are getting fleeced by DC proper apartment companies and you will see "place" become less important and "family" become more important. Urban living is expensive and economically unsustainable"

-Urban living is a choice when that choice is available. In most of America, for reasons well documented, this "choice" hasn't exactly been available.
-Your "macro" predictions of declining investments in urbanization flies in the face of all observable evidence.
-You say "family" will gain importance over "place" is again contrary to evidence. The beginning of America
s urban revival started in the 1960's-70's with people who didn't necessarily have families, so sought them in places where people congregate, ie- cities. Now though, the revival is getting a strong impetus from families that want a sense of place for their lives rather than just convenient parking at mega stores.
-Lastly, to compare the economic sustainability of urbanism with traditional suburbanism is absolutley stunning. The cost of driving for daily life vs. walking can't even be completely calculated if you throw in the pollution, resulting medical bils, infrastructure efficiency, social isolation, and on and on.

"Folks tied up in higher education tend to be the sloggers, the takers with little to offer society." - ouch!

by Thayer-D on Jan 2, 2014 8:58 am • linkreport

"Having described their sugar highs, the difference "

You have not explained how given that those metros are, in your opinion, different from Washington, they still have the same phenomenon of central city growth. You also do not explain the relationship of sugar high growth to central city growth. NYC had a "grip" its alleged, on the world financial markets, in the 1960s and 1970s - yet those are the decades when NYC pop declined, and its suburbs bloomed. In the 1980s NYC saw its worst crime wave. Similarly in the 1970s the growth of tech powered growth in the Silicon Valley - but not in Oakland. And of course previous waves of growth in the federal govt, led to growth in FFX county, MoCo, etc but not in DC - which declined.

You are confusing a debate about the factors driving metro area growth (and I think your take on those are cartoonish) with the factors leading to a shift back to the central cities and other walkable areas.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 9:05 am • linkreport

no more offices, no more importance to place, etc etc. This is recycled george gilder. Aren't we all supposed to be living in Wyoming by now, getting all the agglomeration economies of urban economies via 360 surround screen virtual reality, empowered by cheap broad band, or something? Did he put a date on that prediction? I forget.

Now can we return to discussing the actual demographic changes happening to DC, and move the techno-libertarian fantasies someplace more appropriate?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 9:12 am • linkreport

BTW 38 minutes bike ride at a comfy commuting speed of 10MPH means within a 6 to 7 mile or so radius of Logan Circle. Suburban places that close (other than in PG) are mostly not cheap.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 9:14 am • linkreport

I can't speak for DC proper, but I'd say 70-80% of the growth in NOVA over the last 15 years has honestly been federally subsidized because while the area as a whole was always growing, it was the death of a few thousand Americans on September 11, 2001 and the country's entry into two wars thereafter that really caused it to take off. And when the recession hit, word got around that the DC area was "the place to be" either at landing a very stable government job or becoming a contractor and making very good money, especially if you took the time to get a clearance. Growth may slow in the coming years but if there's one thing I learned in my ~10 years of military and contracting experience, it's that the government is very good at ensuring its continued growth one way or the other.

by Joe on Jan 2, 2014 9:32 am • linkreport

No mention here that COG still forecasts stronger population growth in the outer suburbs than either DC or the inner suburbs. Unfortunately the urban renaissance is only part of the story.

by Mr. Transit on Jan 2, 2014 9:34 am • linkreport

COG forecasts stronger percentage growth in the outer suburbs, but that is because the outer suburbs are lightly populated already and there is a lot of open space. Versus in DC and other inner areas there are a lot of people and not a lot of space. That doesn't tell you much about demand.

by David Alpert on Jan 2, 2014 9:38 am • linkreport

Also many cities that lost population overall between 2000 and 2010 still saw growth downtown (their most urban parts).

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2011/03/16/the-downtown-renaissance-extends-its-reach/

by drumz on Jan 2, 2014 9:39 am • linkreport

The idea that DC is simply going to stop growing ONLY works if you believe that the current change in preference in Millennials is going to abate. The vast majority of my friends would live in DC/Arlington if they could afford it. Most do, but the few in Fairfax/Loudon are there by necessity, not by choice.

With how big the DC region is, and what few % of those people live in the city, it does not take much to continue growing at a fast pace. If the region grows at 1% for the next decade, and every month an extra 250 people decide to move from the suburbs to DC (only .06% of the regions population) then we see 1,000 a month for the next decade. No reason (outside of housing supply) this cannot happen.

by Kyle-w on Jan 2, 2014 10:00 am • linkreport

I think the example of DC_bound raises an interesting question: is the urban "renaissance" in DC (and other cities) caused by people looking for urban amenities? Or are people moving back into cities to be closer to work?

@Joe
GMU's Mercatus Center put out a research paper that backs you up:
http://mercatus.org/publication/tale-two-labor-markets-government-spendings-impact-virginia

by Rich 'n Alexandria on Jan 2, 2014 10:02 am • linkreport

Ok, so we want more population, we want more density. Are we honestly going to revitalize EVERY neighborhood in DC to become yuppie magnet? No beef with yuppies whatsoever, without them we wouldn't being seeing a renewal in the city at all, and its good to increase the amount of people in a neighborhood with high disposable income. But the thing everyone, including the Office of Planning, DC Council, Mayor Gray; is that yeah DC is hot now with new millienials coming in by the boatload. But many in that group they live a very nomadic lifestyle, they'll move New York, Chicago, Seattle, or any other city if they want. Then all of a sudden our tax base drops from under us. DC isn't so "hot" for young professionals anymore, they go to the dozens of other cities or even the suburbs make a rebound. Then were in the same position we were in the 1960's, white flight=urban decay. Lets build a strong and culturally diverse middle class, in which we have vibrant and economically diverse neighborhoods. My personal goal is to get to a million residents by 2050! Thats just under 10,000 a year(which we are already exceeding). Bring the middle class back to DC, en masse, and we have a more reliable tax base, and population growth for decades to come. Middle class families wont up and leave the city if we invest in making our schools work, decreasing crime all across the city(not just when working professionals enter the neighborhood), and most importantly making the city affordable for them again. Doesn't make sense that the cheapest housing supply is in the suburbs. I Know, i know, supply/demand creates semi-artificial inflation of DC home values. So then lets build more housing. Not just condos and apartments for young working professionals, but also more row homes with decent sizes, more single family homes close to transportation. If we as citizens of the District of Colombia truly want to see the city evolve, then we need to add residents that yes, are young working professionals with high disposable incomes, but also middle class families with medium disposable income that can add character and culture to the city and hopefully move us away from the transient status we currently have.

by bryantS on Jan 2, 2014 10:09 am • linkreport

@William
With all due respect, I am not sure where the urban redevelopment is being subsidized by your response.
-back door tax breaks to developers, outdated/inefficient infrastructure that requires constant government monies to maintain, larger more expensive police/fire/ambulance services(I'd even wager on a per capita basis, but I haven't studied the data). Ludicrously expensive transportation systems, roads, metro, streetcar, lightrail, and the like.

...and higher wages for those who live and work there.
Why, isn't talent, talent anywhere? Why should the placement of any human effect whether they are worth more or less?
...except for the period roughly from 1946 to the very recent past, humans have found more efficiency by living in compact environments.
Humans were nomadic for most of their existence. Only ten thousand years ago did farming begin and small tribes of at most several hundred people settled. Not to mention it was probably 6000 years ago when the first villages even looked remotely similar to modern urban density. It was 2000 years ago when the first city hit one million people, and didn't repeat that until less than 200 years ago. Efficiency is using what's given, less waste.
Do you honestly think it is more efficient to stock multiple retail shops with one truck trip into a city than multiple truck trips to multiple retail outlets in the suburbs or rural areas?
NO, it is more efficient to have NO STORES AT ALL, and have stuff manufactured as ordered, and to tighten the logistics line wherever possible.
...white collar obsolesence...
I said paper pushing office space is obsolete, not the work itself(yet). Ex, the James V. Forrestal Building in SW DC could be demolished and every employee working there could do so from home. The only folks that need to be there are custodians and maintenance workers.

@drumz
...but what form of growth is better...
the form of growth that cradles the most human innovation.
...to enable activities to be done without the need for a car for every trip.
Where are you driving to? All your shopping can be done cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly online.
...because transit can move a much greater number of people with less/cleaner fuel.
A bicyclist living in centerville has a much smaller carbon footprint than a urbanite taking the metro three times a week from tenleytown to city center.

@Thayer-D
In most of America, for reasons well documented, this "choice" hasn't exactly been available.
NOBODY is tied to any place, unless they are on house arrest; the urban places are waiting for whomever wants them.
declining investments in urbanization flies in the face of all observable evidence.
Equalizing, that is what I predict, "land" is becoming more equal than ever before. Just as urban areas were cheaper than suburban areas in the 70s, what you got a few decades later was the equalizing of prices. Now that the pricing scale has tipped the direction of Urban, in the coming decades you will see it tip back. Sound economic theory.
Lastly, to compare the economic sustainability of urbanism with traditional suburbanism is absolutley stunning.
Good, I'm glad I didn't do that, not once did I bring up a Levittown.

@AWalkerInTheCity
...phenomenon of central city growth.
due to 19th century constraints of logistics, and the archaic need to have white collar workers congregate in one Large building.
1960s and 1970s - yet those are the decades when NYC pop declined
Plenty of people still worked there as you said(commuting from the growing suburbs). Also some of the tallest Manhattan skyscrapers were built during 60s, 70s, 80s, including the WORLD TRADE CENTER. The NYC CSA grew during those decades. NYC was the catalyst for all suburban growth because it was cheaper(new technologies in transit), and it wasn't surrounded by crime. Nobody wants to live in squalor, NOBODY.
You are confusing a debate about the factors driving metro area growth (and I think your take on those are cartoonish)
This blog is a collection of opinions and I welcome reading yours. It wouldn't take much time to spend a few minutes contemplating mine.
This is recycled george gilder.
At least he is attempting to further the discussion on worldwide poverty (which is growing). In his book Wealth and Poverty, chapter 17, the productivity of services he does a pretty good job(like Thomas Friedman) of explaining retailing evolution, precisely the path amazon.com is on right now. And he penned his thoughts in 1981!
all the agglomeration economies of urban economies via 360 surround screen virtual reality, empowered by cheap broad band, or something?
Laugh now, as Amazonfresh is quietly building a warehouse in baltimore that will service all 9 million people and is set to destroy Whole foods, yet folks on H street and Navy yard are cheering the opening of their whole foods even though it became obsolete 15 years ago...
Suburban places that close (other than in PG) are mostly not cheap.
You are close, my rent was sub $1000 when I moved in summer 2012. And as safe as anything in DC.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 2, 2014 12:39 pm • linkreport

the form of growth that cradles the most human innovation.
...to enable ac

And that is?

Where are you driving to? All your shopping can be done cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly online.

Forgive me if I'm not as good at planning as you are for when I run out of milk and need to run to the store.

A bicyclist living in centerville has a much smaller carbon footprint than a urbanite taking the metro three times a week from tenleytown to city center.

Ok? Transportation and land decisions can really only be decided from a systemic level. That someone manages to live a more carbon-less existence in the suburbs than someone else in the city doesn't really shift the tide at all. Also, good luck to all of the cyclists in Centreville. Its rough out there.

by Canaan on Jan 2, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

Once again, the news item here is about change in where people live. The logistics of 19th century planning were just as, if not more, constraining from 1960 to 1990 as in the last 15 years.

You have not explained why the decline in central city POPULATION has reversed itself in multiple cities in the last dozen or so years.

You may return to your techno hype.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

And I know others have provided info before about how the per capita costs of infrastructure are lower, not higher in higher density areas. If someone has a link handy then please, or I'll add it once I can find it.

by Canaan on Jan 2, 2014 12:53 pm • linkreport

@Rich 'n Alexandria:

Thanks for the link to the GMU paper, it's nice to see what I've been feeling actually backed up with research.

by Joe on Jan 2, 2014 12:55 pm • linkreport

"Where are you driving to? All your shopping can be done cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly online"

Still needs to be delivered. Someone should do a study on the relative delivery costs for lower and higher density locations.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 1:07 pm • linkreport

Ah, here is a good place to get started.

Humans may have lived spread out for a long time but the cheaper way to provide other recent luxuries like electricity and treated water means planning for communities to be denser.

http://www.vtpi.org/sg_save.pdf

by Canaan on Jan 2, 2014 1:08 pm • linkreport

@Canaan

That's making a ton of assumptions, the first of which is all suburbanites need cars, I'd argue that very few would need more than one car(probably running on cold fusion).

Also you are discounting several new technologies that could come online before the end of the century, one of which is the "bloom box", micro nuclear reactors, etc. Both of which would eliminate the electrical grid entirely. Your power is produced on site and your internet is provided through satellite feeds. In addition water distillation costs are dropping rapidly, dare I say we have unlimited clean water, that can be produced at your home, for next to nothing in the future...

That someone manages to live a more carbon-less existence in the suburbs than someone else in the city doesn't really shift the tide at all.
Yeah times that by about 90 million and the tide might rise faster than you realize.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 2, 2014 1:22 pm • linkreport

the form of growth that cradles the most human innovation.
...to enable ac
And that is?

Probably arcologies, but humanity isn't there yet.
Arcology wiki

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 2, 2014 1:26 pm • linkreport

Or alternatively, we might all transform our minds to data, and live in virtual reality worlds that use no energy, our bodies having become obsolete.

Im not sure what any of that has to do with DC's population growth in the last 10 years, or its likely growth in the next 18 years (to 2032).

More interesting point made above - that the growth has been slowing (albeit slowly) over the last couple of years. I think thats less a sign of the tide turning, than of supply issues - prices have increased, and that has slowed the pace of increase (though its still pretty fast).

What would it take to raise the absolute pop growth back to what it was July 2010 to July 2011? Or to raise it to the same percentage growth (slightly more ambitious, since we now have a larger base) ?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 1:32 pm • linkreport

@Bill
No president, R or D, has reduced government spending, at least since WWII.
Bill "Slick Willie" Clinton. He also shrunk the military, and made significant reductions in the national debt.

Bill's first budget in 1993 was for $1.4 Trillion. His last budget was for $1.8 Trillion. Not only is that an increase in spending, it is an increase that is faster than the rate of inflation.

The only difference with Bill vs. all other presidents since WWII is that government spending declined as a percent of GDP. That's not because spending declined but rather because GDP rocketed higher.

Also, what I meant was the DC workforce is "well-educated and highly skilled" not that they "have lots of degrees from fancy universities". While both statements are true, it's the former that matters. The DC workforce is the most highly skilled in the country when it comes to the knowledge industries.

by Falls Church on Jan 2, 2014 1:37 pm • linkreport

Canaan:

Ask and you shall receive. Anthony Downs, previously at Brookings, has written extensively about the cost of providing infrastructure to the suburbs.

"A strong economic and moral argument for changing sprawl is that many households moving into far-out subdivisions are not being required to pay the full social costs of gaining the benefits of living there – which include building infra-structure trunk lines and increased social costs in inner-city areas. Charging them more fully for the costs they generate might encourage more of them to locate in closer in areas. The most persuasive part of this cost-based argument is that merely continuing current sprawl
densities for future growth will require massive additional infrastructure spending that is not consistent
with adequately maintaining existing roads, sewer and water systems, and other infrastructures."

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/1999/8/cities%20downs/199908.pdf

Bill the Wanderer is making ridiculous claims that do not merit a response.

by 202_cyclist on Jan 2, 2014 1:55 pm • linkreport

@falls church
I'm afraid I don't get your logic at all. Surely you understand that the population increased during those eight years, which required more outlay. If you have more revenue but spent a lower percentage of the pot, how are you not making money/saving money?
The DC workforce is the most highly skilled in the country when it comes to the knowledge industries.
Again, how does that create value outside of themselves, I've described how other american cities have created value for the world, can you explain how think tanks, lobbyists, general shufflers create jobs and innovation for others? Seems risky for a region to place all their economic eggs in that basket.
Bill the Wanderer is making ridiculous claims that do not merit a response.
I am sorry my views don't jive with yours. But I would appreciate if you would display empirical evidence, rather than tired old urban studies grad students theses solving logistical problems that existed during the 1970s. Thinking inside the box only...not that's "ridiculous".
@Im not sure what any of that has to do with DC's population growth in the last 10 years, or its likely growth in the next 18 years (to 2032).
The ten or so readers of these comments are merely discussing the future of growth for the Washington DC region, sorry you feel if we are off in some distant tangent, but hey, at least nobody here is discussing Shanahan's firing.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 2, 2014 3:04 pm • linkreport

1. the OP was not about growth in the region, but about growth in the District, which is NOT the same thing

2. The discussion of growth in the region, has devolved, as these things so often do, into an ideological discussion of the value of government services and those who try to influence govt. Which is utterly off topic, is found all over the internet, and is tiresome after the thousandth time.

3. To the extent its not about that, its about broad discussions of techs that are claimed to make place irrelevant in general, at some future date. With no particular relevance to the DC metro area, let alone to the District proper.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 3:11 pm • linkreport

"But I would appreciate if you would display empirical evidence, rather than tired old urban studies grad students theses solving logistical problems that existed during the 1970s."

"Folks tied up in higher education tend to be the sloggers, the takers with little to offer society."

"I've described how other american cities have created value for the world, can you explain how think tanks, lobbyists, general shufflers create jobs and innovation for others?"

World order and it's resulting peace just happen in a vacuum. Like Glen Beck's "free" education he gave himself at the local public library.

Fox News Alert: Don't trust the educated 'folks'!

by Thayer-D on Jan 2, 2014 4:14 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

I have no idea what the point of this comments section is then. I guess I could just be like the commenters on that aimless blog popville. "+1000", "just sayin" "stabbiness".
the OP was not about growth in the region, but about growth in the District, which is NOT the same thing
The interdependence is readily apparent. Although I would say at this point since almost 90% of the DC CSA population is "suburban" I'd say the district has become ever more dependent on it's surroundings than vice versa.
Which is utterly off topic, is found all over the internet, and is tiresome after the thousandth time.
The discussion of free will, science, religion, beauty, are tiresome, but a good brain exercise. City planning/land use/transportation theory on the other hand is practical, affects everybody and philosophies are constantly changing to keep up with current technology. That is why I enjoy greatergreaterwashingnton
3) I think if there is to be a governmental hand in deciding land use, the whatever (mayor, panel, legislature) better be able to plan on changes that will happen in the future. They don't have to be complete futurists, but they better not try and solve yesterday's problems or else humanity again has innovation regression, as it has many times in its history. I thought the point of a great mayor/leader/CEO/President was preemptively act on tomorrow's future, not merely respond to the today.

@Thayer-D

Crikey! Is it that hard to be tolerant of others views? I've been deep in the bowels of two strong public ivies, and I have two signed pieces of paper for my troubles. I think there is a problem with higher education in this country, you don't apparently, fine.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 2, 2014 5:14 pm • linkreport

@Bill the Wanderer

All of your responses have basically consisted of predicting the DOOM of the DC metro area based on your dislike of the government ("I've described how other american cities have created value for the world, can you explain how think tanks, lobbyists, general shufflers create jobs and innovation for others") and posting about pie in the sky future-tech that is going to make anything we do now pointless. Home nuclear reactors? Cold fusion cars? Seriously?

It's not just that we don't like your opinions, it's that you want to ridicule ours while using unlikely fantasy scenarios to justify your worldview as correct. It's even worse than the "why do that, self-driving cars are around the corner!" drivel.

by MLD on Jan 2, 2014 5:23 pm • linkreport

discussing the possible economic benefit of lobbyists is not city planning, land use or transportation theory.

As for the interdependence of the metro area pop and the district pop, thats a red herring. The notable fact here is that for decades the District declined while the metro area grew. Now the District is growing, and rapidly. As are central cities (and walkable suburbs) in other parts of the USA. The discussion of the metro area growth is a distraction from that important phenomenon, and misleading as to its causes. But its a grand way to redirect the conversation from the increasing demand for urban living to yet another discussion of the gubbermint, and what creates "real" economic value.

As for land use, no particular policy decision was mentioned in the OP though some have drawn conclusions relative to the height limit. I personally would be reluctant to suggest policy changes based on techs which may never come to fruition, and which if they do are likely decades off. I beleive Gilder made his points about broad band making cities obsolete back in 1996. In fact cities that invested in transit to support high density in 1996 are glad of it today. People who invested in walkable urban places in 1996 would be able to offset the losses they took in the tech bubble of the late 1990s.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 5:28 pm • linkreport

"I've described how other american cities have created value for the world, can you explain how think tanks, lobbyists, general shufflers create jobs and innovation for others"

Irony

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANet

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 2, 2014 5:29 pm • linkreport

All of your responses have basically consisted of predicting the DOOM of the DC metro area based on your dislike of the government
The government is inefficient, I've seen and experienced enough to come to that conclusion. Private industry is notoriously inefficient too, just less so, and the weaker ones tend to be snuffed out eventually. The government has done more to harm mother earth, the poor, the destitute, than any private individual or corporation ever has. That said I suppose government does have a role to support law and order. And you can paint me as a tea partier all you want, that I am not, if it makes you feel smug and self righteous.
It's even worse than the "why do that, self-driving cars are around the corner!" drivel.
Yeah because the earth is flat right? It took six days to create everything...I would stay away from tech stocks if I were you.
It's not just that we don't like your opinions
How many screen names do you have?

@AWalkerInTheCity
Irony is the fact that the privately run interurbans and streetcars of the early 20th would still be going strong had it not been for the government subsidizing of cars and planes.
And, the military invented all sorts of useful things, GPS, internet, nuclear power, night vision, microwave ovens, jet engine......but that's not saying those inventions never would have come to fruition had it not been for the vaulted government research. Case in point, the human genome project, two fighters, in one corner with 3 billion dollars spent, our beloved local Bethesda institution National Institutes of Health. In the other corner with 300 million dollars spent, Celera Corporation . Who won? Celera mapped the genome first.

Ok folks, it's been fun, but I need to empty the chamberpot, get the horse ready to ride to the cobbler to get my stovepipe boots resoled, and stop by Western Union to send a telegram to my aunt in San Francisco.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 2, 2014 6:32 pm • linkreport

To return to @VacantUnits and @revitalizer: "Fewer places where a family can find an affordable single family (attached or detached) house."

Limiting multifamily conversions, accessory dwellings, and other physical growth of multifamily zones will result in fewer places where non-families can find affordable multifamily housing. Which, in turn, raises prices for single family housing.

Currently, 10% of DC households are traditional nuclear families, but 30% of DC's housing stock is single-family-sized (3+ BR). The supply and thus the affordability crisis in the city requires multifamily housing, for non-family households. Right now, there isn't enough multifamily, so that demand is spilling over into the single-family market: plenty of people who might prefer apartments/condos are instead moving into rowhouses (childless couples, singles in group houses), since single family housing costs much less on a per-foot basis.*

"Also, a factor that should not be ignored is the fact that we started this decade in 2010 with 30,000 vacant housing units."

And I take it that you volunteer to be the first to move into this vacant apartment complex?

* In particular, the market appears to have a surplus of 3-BR units: per Trulia, 3-BRs in DC sell for 15% less per foot than 2-BRs, 4-BRs, or the average of all units.

by Payton Chung on Jan 2, 2014 8:17 pm • linkreport

One should also ask about the per capita infrastructure costs in the suburbs. Will deferred maintenance impose costs on suburbs which necessitate significantly higher property taxes? Can dense cities invest more efficiently in transit, etc?

by tui on Jan 2, 2014 8:42 pm • linkreport

Bill, I agree there are a lot of problems with higher education, but just becasue you've run in to some shmuks at your ivies dosen't mean "Folks tied up in higher education tend to be the sloggers, the takers with little to offer society." Afterall, I'm sure the folks in higher education had something to do with those portable nuclear reactors you seem fond of.

by Thayer-D on Jan 2, 2014 11:23 pm • linkreport

libertarian heh

by NE John on Jan 3, 2014 8:47 am • linkreport

"I guess I could just be like the commenters on that aimless blog popville. "+1000", "just sayin" "stabbiness".

The added value of "+1000" and "Someday our cars will be powered by cold fusion and we'll all have our own personal nuclear reactors" is roughly equivalent. If I want to to daydream about futuristic techno-luxury, I'll go watch the Jetsons.

by dcd on Jan 3, 2014 8:51 am • linkreport

@ Frankie D

"Population growth per your own numbers literally doubled in one year, the first year of the recession, then continued to grow at red hot levels until the year ending 2011, and have been falling precipitously since"

Look at those numbers again:

July 2008 to July 2009: 2.07% growth or 999 residents per month
July 2009 to July 2010: 2.18% growth or 1,075 residents per month
July 2010 to July 2011: 2.40% growth or 1,208 residents per month
July 2011 to July 2012: 2.23% growth or 1,150 residents per month
July 2012 to July 2013: 2.06% growth or 1,085 residents per month

Growth from 999 to 1075 (+76/month) (2008/2009 versus 2009/2010) is "red hot growth" and a decline from 1150 to 1085 (-165/month) (2011/2012 versus 2012/2013) is a precipitous fall? Isn't it just as likely these numbers are falling because DC is becoming more expensive to live in, due to the massive influx of people (increased demand), thereby reducing the number of people who can afford to move here because housing prices have gone up so rapidly? Also, note that overlap election years, also reflect people who lost their jobs when their congressperson boss lost a race, lobbying firm decided it needed less Republicans, or were asked to leave for the POTUS' second term? Also, some people leave the city when their kids reach middle school age. The first wave of new homebuyers came around 2003-2004. If babies were born in their household, they would be middle school in a lot of DC public charter schools by 2013-2014 (loss of residents affects growth numbers as well [example, 2010 your small town has 10 people, 2 leave, 1 new person moves in, and in 2011 you have a growth rate of -10%].). Some people pull their kids out even earlier.

I don't buy that 1,000 people/month are getting federal government jobs. That's absurd on its face, especially in light of hiring freezes in several agencies (which also may be affecting those numbers, btw).

by wylie coyote on Jan 3, 2014 5:12 pm • linkreport

Limiting multifamily conversions, accessory dwellings, and other physical growth of multifamily zones will result in fewer places where non-families can find affordable multifamily housing. Which, in turn, raises prices for single family housing.

I support the increase in supply of square footage including units aimed at small households, and agree that will free up space for larger households. Ergo upzoning, ADU's, relaxing height restrictions, etc. I don't necessarily oppose freedom to subdivide existing units without adding sq ft, but I am not sure that's an answer that will really improve affordability for families - it merely reallocates the supply of existing sq footage.

by VacantUnits on Jan 3, 2014 7:22 pm • linkreport

@wylie coyote

From July 2011 to July 2012, here are the estimated components of population change for DC by residents per month and by percentage:

July 2011 to July 2012: 2.23% growth or 1,150 residents per month

Of the total 1,150 residents per month:

About 375 residents/month came from natural increase (baby boom) or 32.6%
About 250 residents/month came from international migration or 21.7%
About 525 residents/month came from domestic migration (some of these were people already living in the DC area but just not in DC) or 45.7%

I hope this is enlightening. Posters on this forum or otherwise who are just taking the total net new residents per month (+1000 or so) and allocating that whole amount to people moving into DC looking for jobs from elsewhere around the country have simply not analyzed the numbers properly.

by revitalizer on Jan 4, 2014 6:16 am • linkreport

Bill the Wanderer - forget building up like Manhattan... getting to the density of the borough of Queens would be more realistic... or looking overseas - the somewhere like Valencia, Spain.

by Andre on Jan 4, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

"The government has done more to harm mother earth, the poor, the destitute, than any private individual or corporation ever has." Weren't the founding fathers just a bunch of takers?

by Thayer-D on Jan 4, 2014 9:04 pm • linkreport

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