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Rebuilding America's Cities - NAHB Opinion

Rebuilding America's Cities - NAHB Opinion

America’s cities are enjoying a resurgence in new housing construction, thanks in part to a partnership between NAHB, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors .


By Robert Mitchell, NAHB President October 31, 2000
This article first appeared in the PB November 2000 issue of Pro Builder.
Robert Mitchell, NAHB President

 

America’s cities are enjoying a resurgence in new housing construction, thanks in part to a partnership between NAHB, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Created in 1999, the "Building Homes in America’s Cities" goal is to facilitate the construction of a million additional homes in the nation’s cities - beyond what would normally have been built - between 1999 and 2009.

Even though it was formed a relatively short time ago, the partnership is already meeting its goals. According to HUD, at least 100,000 additional homes were built in the nation’s cities last year.

This new housing brings families, businesses and jobs back to the cities, and helps revitalize communities. It’s good for America.

Despite the progress the partnership has made, home builders seeking to invest in cities still face significant challenges. Some of them include:

 

 

  • Aging infrastructure that makes redevelopment costly, difficult and time consuming.

     

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  • Permitting processes that in many cities have become slow and cumbersome.

     

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  • Increasingly complex and expensive regulations.

     

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  • Federal liability laws designed for heavily polluted "Superfund" sites that make it excessively risky for home builders to take on otherwise manageable projects on brownfield sites.

     

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  • Public sentiment - often the same people who decry "sprawl" are equally opposed to infill construction.

     

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  • Local government officials’ unwillingness to reduce the burdens of bureaucracy.

    Despite these challenges, this partnership is working. In place where home builders have forged strong relationships with city officials, real progress is being made.

    I hope that all of us who care about America’s cities will learn from these experiences, and work together to bring new housing—and new hope—to communities.

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