Monday, December 09, 2019

America is Moving Up

Real-estate company Zillow argues that new residential construction in nearly all US metro areas consists of concentrated clusters of very large apartment buildings. Traditionally US cities have developed outwards with the development of new suburbs consisting of mainly single-family homes. However, Zillow says, that in recent years new residential construction has consisted almost entirely of concentrated clusters of apartment buildings in already developed areas.

In Islands of Density in a Sea of No Growth Zillow has used a series of interactive maps to show how this new pattern of residential construction is developing in America's major cities. On Zillow's maps census tracts are colored to show the mixture of housing type in a number of major cities. Single-family homes are colored blue and large apartment buildings are shown in red. The maps also include a menu which allows you to filter the buildings shown by building age.

This filter allows you to more easily identify the type of housing built in different decades. For example in Los Angeles if you select to view only buildings built before 2000 you can see that in the Twentieth Century single-family and small unit structures were the most popular residential construction types in nearly all of LA. If you then change the map to show only properties built after the year 2000 you can see that 50+ unit structures are now the most common type of new residential development. Which seems to support Zillow's argument that the US is now building almost exclusively islands of large apartment buildings in already developed areas.

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