My Urban Plan for New Orleans

Cafe Hayek points out that Rep. Earl Blumenauer wants to make sure that New Orleans is rebuilt with a strong urban planning vision.  Since Mr. Blumenauer represents Portland, Oregon, the city beloved of planners that has been planned into having some of the highest priced housing and worst traffic of any city of its size in America, I presume he wants something similar for New Orleans (Portland was also the city that thought it had solved global warming).

Here is my urban plan for New Orleans:  Every person who owns property can build whatever the hell they want on it.  If other people want something else built on that property, and value this outcome enough, they can buy the property from its owner.  This novel concept is called "private property rights" and falls under the broader category of what are called "constitutionally protected individual rights" or even more broadly, "freedom".  It is a concept that used to be taken for granted in this country and but now is seldom even taught in schools. 

For the property owned by the government, well, they are going to build whatever dumbshit thing they want to on it anyway, so I'll just root for their choice to be fairly inexpensive.  We here in Phoenix built a half-billion dollar stadium for the for-god-sakes Arizona Cardinals that is used for its core purpose 3 hours a day for 8 days a year.  It couldn't be worse, could it?

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  • Max Lybbert

    I like your plan (and I'm being very serious).

    Another, interesting (but more hands-on) approach can be found at http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2003-09-28-1.html . I notice you both don't like stadiums. And I agree with that sentiment.

  • http://www.arizonawatch.com BridgetB

    Hahahaha. Yea. Why didnt I think of that? Heeeeee.

    So then if you just subtract the highly subsidised Federal Flood Insurance program, the added benefit of market pricing esp in New Orleans is that the risks of building and living in certain if not most parts of the area will be reflected in the price. This insures that only those who are willing and able to handle those risks will live there.

    This likely means less or no people livivng and working in the riskiest areas (for flooding of course) and so less damage to person and property. And maybe a lot less whinging the next time the Hurricane hits.

  • http://www.bkennelly.com/vox/archives/002046.html Vox

    Novel Concept

    Over at Coyote Blog: Here is my urban plan for New Orleans: Every person who owns property can build whatever the hell they want on it. If other people want...

  • Roxanna

    This seems like a very sound concept at first sight. However, I have been doing a lot of research on the topic (which is how I found this site) and you are overlooking one important fact. Your theory does not account for the working class who are needed to fill minimum wage or low paying jobs. Where will they live if all the housing is high priced. It would also not be practical for them to commute because many don't have vehicles. Even if they do have a car gas prices are too high for low income workers to live outside the city and commute. And a city can not survive without workers to fill positions as grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, restaurant cooks and servers, janitors, ect. Also, our middle income workers such as teachers, small business owners and employees, etc. need affordable housing to attract them to the area.
    What you propose would create a society built for the rich who will in turn have no one to give them the services rich people desire and expect.

  • Errant

    In an "only-for-the-rich" town even janitors may earn high wages. Otherwise, why would the rich may choose to live in a place without services?
    Another solution may be "suburbs" where the "working class" may live. Let the individuals decide freely and a spontaneous order will appear, one that we cannot predict nor plan.