We all see now the shortage of new construction in good markets. Every observer says that sales are suppressed by nothing to sell. Theories abound: development fees, open space reservations, regulation — and there’s always the cost of land, labor and materials. Consider another: geometry.
- Cities have not just grown in population, but expanded outward.
- Cities thrive on the coasts of seas and sea-sized lakes, not just because of beaches, but shipping -- the lowest friction, lowest cost to ship anything.
- A coastal city can expand at only half the pace of an inland one, unless it grows its radius inland twice as fast. River-based cities have it easier but are still limited.
- Outward expansion has run its course, outrunning diameter and the cost of public or auto transportation.