in Climate Change, Housing, Housing Affordability


The July 2019 review will focus on the Tweets from housing advocacy groups. Just as these organizations warned of the 2008 Recession, they see another housing crisis forming in America. How equity was kept away from people is an issue of the nation’s 400 hundred-year heritage of enslavement, cold, racist terrorism, and bigotry. These facts also describe the world’s history, but it is the U.S. Constitution that had some ideas about how moral people could change immoral societies. Problems that hurt people and go undefined and unanswered creates a climate for authoritarian solutions.


Every problem is a housing problem.

The often-told solution is an old retort of hard work, healthy homes, communities, and families. The response is correct but blind to the history of privileges extended to white America as it became the United States. For centuries rights and freedoms extended to all people not of color without a moment’s reflection. The crime of bias barred the accumulation of wealth from property to succeeding generations. The quiet yet insidious reduction and denials of opportunity from education are proven.

Access to work from the ordinary trades to the most highly skilled professions is proven with painful references such as “they are not ready,” or the best work suited “for them” is agricultural service. These actions still rip the opportunity for equity with an intense generational impact on people of color. In the centuries that led to the rise of American hegemony, no one, not one person, not W.E.B. DuBois or even Martin Luther King, has been able to fully articulate what this loss of equity has meant to the people of color in America. The voice of Ta-Nehisi Coates is the most current (here). He stands on firm ground because the U.S. has participated in reparations four times.

Ending the Wherever Movement

A new housing crisis is in the air for reasons other than systemic racism in America. Every issue connects to a housing problem. For some time, the equity crisis re-establishes classicism under headings such as “culture wars,” but the results change little. The metaphor is weak. The facts on the structure of every “next disaster” can be different. Technology offers opportunities to build a broader coalition on equity with justice that includes race by correcting past wrongs, yet moves forward to circumvent long-established rules of “divide to conquer.”

The surge of affordable single-family housing in America continues in the hot wetlands of the south with sporadic drought and the flat drylands of the southwest with asymmetrical flash floods. The onset of climate change will drown the wetlands, scorch and burn the drylands, and cause enormous disruptions in every region of the United States. Denying the annual recurrence of this possibility is just plain denial. I will not be surprised if we experience a bout of biblical pestilence. These impacts are called “environmental racism” by pointing to the disproportionate number of low-and-moderate-income people losing equity. The damage and despair reveal a broad swath of painful historic bigotry, but now the dangers are thrown at all people.

After WWII, localities have kept their hand on the tail of the revenue bull, blind to the rest of the beast. In the last century, millions of households benefited from federal housing policies with only one location principle – housing wherever you want. In this new century reducing the mortgage interest subsidy on the demand side and weakening a long list of development incentives on the supply side has severely weakened federal leadership in housing preservation and development to continue the “build wherever” policy.

The opportunity to bring national policies back with conditions that mitigate the impact of regional climate change by region makes it possible to re-establish national housing development policies as the leading edge of a new strategy. It will be re-focused by climate protection that builds restoration with resilience. It will create sustainable equity in communities despite storms of enormous ferocity and designed to survive the hatred, bigotry, and high water, drought, and fire.

Two Centuries Out

In the following summary of Tweets from the Housing Advocacy People (HAP) of July 2019, it may be possible to find threads of principle and elements of novelty in current policy efforts that will alter the pervasive opinion that the size and purpose of the national government have not lost its way, that it will be possible to forge new policy from environmental protection as a national defense strategy forced by the bright light of survival. If the ocean’s tide is once again destined to flow up and into the Great Appalachian Valley from Maine’s ports to South Carolina’s shores over the next few centuries, getting ready should be a top priority. Preparation for this kind of “sea change” in all its meanings is the most important action of this century (the original map is here). Issues like this are just the beginning:

Climate Central

If the Gulf of Mexico’s fate is to be an alga thickened swamp, we need ideas to be prepared if the Pacific Ocean’s vast torrents alter the Gulf Stream and El Niño yields’ surface heat hundreds of tornadoes and hurricanes. Not being ready is a super bad idea. Whether friendly or with horrible force, from the sky or the sea, heed the words, “the water will come.” The plan seems different when time itself became for sale in 2021, and that is not a surprise if you know how non-fungible tokens (NFT) and blockchains began to change all financial transactions. A true distraction, for all the world, is lost to that stage.

The March 2019 summary (here) introduced all the Tweet-O-Rama organizations and the Random Tweet-O-Rama. The idea is to learn something from the wits from this vast new area of the blah blah world.  The April summary (here) examined the Think-Tank People. In May (here), I looked at the organizations working to produce a good economy combined with voter rights organizations. With those thoughts in mind, it is logical to look at politics as a sport and as a practice that is now very different from the role of leadership that it implies. Please enjoy June, everyone should, and then July (here) for a look at the one thing of great importance – housing (here)

Climate Design

The Planning and Design Problems of Climate Change
Measures to Consider

Coastal wind and advanced flood plain envelopes will become as integral to building and land use policy as standards of light and air are today.  Traditional electric power grid (coal/oil/gas) systems will go to a 24/7/365 pricing structure to spread demand.  Waterproof everything 14ft above MHT will be standard for 75% of the population and 30% of the land area.  Rain harvesting will be a component of buildings and “complete streets” arrive to make room for passenger vehicles other than cars.   Power storage locations/systems will take top priority.  New route designs will accommodate vastly broader range personal vehicles (type, size).  So called “intermodal nodes” will become high value zones.

Buildings and Energy

  • Improve energy incentives in buildings by centralizing incentives. Update the State Energy Code swiftly and expedite “climate friendly” projects. Prioritize energy efficiency initiatives for affordable housing.
  • The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) should be raised from 25% to 30%.
  • The Public Service Commission should be permitted to require time-of-use pricing, which allows the price of electricity to more closely track the actual cost of producing it on an hour-by-hour basis.
  • Provide incentives for installation of “smart meter,” to allow for data exchange of between the electricity provider and the customer’s electric meter.
  • Sub-metering should be required in all buildings to allow building owners to bill tenants for individual electric usage.
  • The State Energy Code should be amended to cover more building renovations; currently only renovations that involve the replacement of 50% or more of a building’s subsystem must comply with the Code.
  • All new or substantially renovated school buildings should be required to meet green building standards.
  • Water and wastewater treatment plants should be required to adopt energy conservation requirements.
  • Reinstate the State Energy Planning Board

Land Use

  • The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) regulations should be amended such that GHG emissions are considered for projects that are subject to it.
  • GHG emissions should be factored into local comprehensive plans.
  • Wind projects, including those offshore, should be encouraged and New York should adopt a statewide wind energy goal as part of its RPS requirement.

Vehicles and Transportation

  • Continue to strive for a 10% reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) below business as usual within 10 years; to this end, New York should initiate a VMT Task Force.
  • Consider imposing feebates on the purchase of new vehicles with low fuel economy and offer rebates on the purchase of vehicles with high fuel economy.
  • Encourage the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Include Energy-saving vehicle maintenance techniques as part of the vehicle registration process.

Additional recommendations

  • Encourage the expansion of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by promoting the adoption of an economy-wide cap on GHGs; in addition, consider lowering the existing cap.
  • Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology should be pursued provided that adequate federal funding is available.
  • Green workforce development should be promoted by enhancing educational and job training programs throughout the state.
  • Encourage the Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement to be aggressive in setting green specifications for certain goods that are purchased by State agencies.
  • Promote methane capture by requiring or encouraging it in all municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills.
  • Improve its floodplain mapping system by taking into account future sea level rise.

New York State Bar Association Task Force on Global Warming reviewed New York’s existing laws and programs, including existing and pending federal laws regarding climate change.  The Task Force is chaired by Professor Michael Gerrard, Director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University School of Law.  (See report Jan. 2009.)  The proposals are organized into four categories: buildings and energy, land use, transportation and other.  The following was edited from the Executive Summary excerpted in the Law of the Land blog.

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