Real estate represents 35 percent of the country's asset base. It has caused two of the last three recessions, but it could also trigger the next boom. Patrick C. Doherty and Christopher B. Leinberger have a fascinating piece in the Washington Monthly on why the country should move from a "low-density, car-dependent" suburban culture to dense, walkable, urban, mass-transit cities:
Households in drivable suburban neighborhoods devote on average 24 percent of their income to transportation; those in walkable neighborhoods spend about 12 percent. The difference is equal to half of what a typical household spends on health care--nationally, that amounts to $700 billion a year in total, according to Scott Bernstein of the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Put another way, dropping one car out of the typical household budget can allow that family to afford a $100,000 larger mortgage.
Read the full story at Washington Monthly.