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Jeff Kaufman
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* Remove restrictions on internal building layout: if it's safe, and doesn't change how the house looks from the outside, why are we regulating it? Let people divide their houses into two-families, divide rooms in two, turn attic space into bedrooms; none of this is the government's business. Floor area ratio doesn't capture anything we care about, so scrap it entirely. Don't regulate the number of units per building, the size of units, or the size of rooms.

* Let people live together: living with other people is far more efficient than living alone. Regulations like "no more than four unrelated adults may live together" push landlords to divide their buildings into more units, losing bedrooms to kitchens and living rooms.

* Allow tiny houses: the existing tiny houses around us fit into the neighborhood well, and from a massing perspective are very similar to the sheds and garages that the majority of lots have.

* Reduce uncertainty over construction: there's currently a lot of uncertainty about what you will be allowed to build. This is part of why good developers earn so much: they're being paid for knowing how to get their proposal through the city government, the risk that they won't succeed, and their ability to identify projects that are likely to be approved. Simplify rules, and make it easier to tell what will be allowed.

* Pre-approve construction: going even further, for properties that could be much more efficient than they are now, like a single story house in a place where most houses are three stories, the city could approve construction on its own, not in response to an external request.

* Turn streets into housing: lots of land in walkable areas that are well-served by transit is currently used for roads and cars. In many cases there's enough room to put housing in the middle of the road with usable street space remaining on either side. Perhaps combined with cut-and-cover subways. You could require a supermajority of the property owners along the street to agree, and they could each get a share of the money from selling the lots in the middle.

* Relax rules for additions: right now there are often very restrictive rules on additions, with their size limited beyond what existing setback rules would require. Same goes for other expansions like dormers; new ones here may only be half the length of the ridgeline, but lots of existing ones are larger.

* Don't worry about affordability: instead of requiring developers to make some units available below market, try to get as many units available as possible. Existing units are being gut-rennovated to turn them into luxury housing, but it's much better if those units stay as they are, renting relatively cheaply, and people who want fancy modern units live in new construction.

* Remove parking requirements: in areas that are already relatively dense, requirements that buildings have appropriate parking are often big restrictions. These exist to reduce pressure on limited street parking spaces, but we can have this same effect a different way: allow developers to opt-out of parking provision requirements, in exchange for the units being ineligible for resident parking permits. Or auction off the street parking each year and divide the money equally among residents.

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If I were visiting someone I would prefer to sleep in a small isolated space over a big public space, even if the small space had low headroom and was up a ladder. Is this me having weird preferences, or would other people also prefer this?

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FB should add a block-lite where people can still see your stuff but can't interact with it.

(This is basically how blogs work.)

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Making the house bigger

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Add a prediction market to your slack!

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One of the major reasons existing residents often oppose adding more housing is that as more people move in it gets harder to find on-street parking. This gives us things like requirements that there be at least one off-street parking place per unit, or just prohibitions on building out. What if, in places like Somerville where all parking is already by-permit-only, we added a new category of housing unit, one that didn't come with any rights to street parking?

The requirements for building these would be lower, and they would end up renting somewhat more cheaply. I know a lot of people who don't own cars and walk / bike / taxi / take public transit everywhere, who I think would be happy to rent units classified this way.

Almost everything else about cities can scale with more money, and when you build new units you get more in property taxes. The main thing that doesn't scale is space, and by allowing more people without further dividing the space we should be able to make everyone happy?

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If you make the 'rules' simple enough, Carcassonne can be a lot of fun with kids as young as (not quite) three.

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