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John Morris

Here is a blurb from the wikepedia on the Public Choice theory of economics. I think this is a rich area for study. Basily public choice theory assumes that the same rules of self interest that motivate market actions apply also to politics.

"Public choice theory is often referenced when discussing how individual political decision-making results in policy that conflicts with the overall desires of the general public. For example, many special interest and pork barrel projects are not the desire of the overall democracy. However, It makes sense for politicians to support these projects. It may benefit them psychologically as they feel powerful and important. It can also benefit them financially as it may open the door to future wealth as lobbyists (after they retire). The project may be of interest to the politician's local constituency, increasing district votes or campaign contributions. The politician pays little to no cost to gain these benefits, as they are spending federal public tax dollars. Special interest lobbyists are also behaving rationally. They can gain government favors worth millions or billions for relatively small investments. They face a risk of losing out to their competitors if they don't seek these favors. The taxpayer is also behaving rationally. The cost of defeating any one government give-away is very high, while the benefits to the individual taxpayer are very small. Each citizen pays only a few pennies or a few dollars for any given government favor, while the costs of ending that favor would be many times higher. Everyone involved has rational incentives to do exactly what they're doing, even though the desire of the general constituency is opposite."

John Morris

My experience in NY is that almost none of the major neighborhood revivals, I know of was connected to a mega project. ( Times Square, might be an exception ) In fact a large number of them were not even fully legal when they happened.

John Morris

I have a question for people out there that i think relates to the issue of downtown development and all high density development in Pittsburgh.

Does the city have mandatory minimum parking requirements for downtown and if so what are they? My own personal theory is that a big chunk of what makes development downtown so expensive relates to that issue.

This is a blog post comparing L.A. to several other cities. It makes a good case that the overwhelming reason for it's historically dead downtown ( no undergoing a hugely expensive revival ) is the parking requirement.


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