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Lusk Perspectives

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Real Conversations, Real Estate

During a time of great uncertainty and rapid change, connection and information is a more important resource than ever before. Today's issues could be amplified or altered in a matter of days or hours, so it is vital that organizations and thought leaders frequently share knowledge, dispel rumors, and offer insight.

Hosted by Professor and Lusk Center Director Richard K. Green, Lusk Perspectives offers timely analysis and shares accurate data vetted by leading experts on the latest developments and observations concerning policy, real estate, urban economics and more.

Once interviews are conducted, resources and videos will be made available here and on podcast channels as soon as possible.


Latest Perspectives

The Biggest And Smallest Barriers To California Housing Development

May 6, 2021
Evgeny Burinskiy
Evgeny Burinskiy | Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Development, USC Price School of Public Policy
Lois M. Takahashi
Lois M. Takahashi | Houston Flournoy Professor of State Government and Director, USC Price in Sacramento
Bert Selva
Bert Selva | President and Chief Executive Officer, Shea Homes
Dan Dunmoyer
Dan Dunmoyer | President and Chief Executive Officer, California Building Industry Association

The State of California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimated that 70,000-110,000 new housing units are needed per year to keep housing prices from rising faster than the national average. What are the most important barriers to new housing construction and what can be done about them? 

Scholars Evgeny Burinskiy, Lois Takahashi, and Richard Green gather with industry experts Bert Selva and Dan Dunmoyer to discuss results from a new survey of California homebuilders, planning commissioners, and housing advocates. The survey, supported by a grant from the California Homebuilding Foundation, highlights the differences in perceptions stakeholders have about the development review process. Overall, each stakeholder group universally sees both traffic congestion and affordable housing as a crucial hurdle to overcome as California grows.

View Survey Report

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A Sea Change in Economic Policy

May 4, 2021
Claudia Sahm
Claudia Sahm | Senior Fellow, Jain Family Institute

Claudia Sahm joins Richard K. Green to outline the changes in economic policy as the Federal Reserve and Congress have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sahm, who was inside the Federal Reserve during the Great Recession and recovery, has since devised the Sahm Rule Recession Indicator to help policymakers and economists determine the start of a recession based on unemployment rates.

Sahm points out that economic policy has new goals, new tools are being considered, and change will come with growing pains. As for new goals, Sahm sees interest in concepts like full employment, reducing inequality, and acknowledging racism as harbingers of a new school of thought, and one that is less skittish about inflation as the Fed works to build momentum in economic downturns. The new tools and approaches like the child benefit cash transfers in the latest stimulus package display a shift towards providing direct aid, rather than commonly used tax incentives or other targeted programs. Sahm also acknowledges that change means pain while data catches up to policy for the simple reason that some benefits or programs have never before been attempted in the US.

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The Case for Medicare to Cover Home Safety Renovations

April 1, 2021
Richard K. Green
Richard K. Green | Director, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate
Patricia F. Harris
Patricia F. Harris, MD | Geriatric Medicine Specialist, UCLA Health
Anthony W. Orlando
Anthony W. Orlando | Assistant Professor in the Finance, Real Estate, & Law Department, California State Polytechnic University

Originally recorded for “The Bigger Picture” podcast by the USC Bedrosian Center with host Oliva Olson.

Falling is the number one cause of injury and the seventh leading cause of death in adults ages 65 and older. In the newly published “Breaking Down Silos to Improve the Health of Older Adults,” Richard Green, Patricia Harris, and Anthony Orlando make the case for Medicare coverage of home safety renovations to minimize injurious falls. Olivia Olson speaks with the authors about their recent paper and the changes they hope to see in Medicare coverage.

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Rebuilding Housing Post-Disaster

March 26, 2021
Lois Takahashi
Lois Takahashi | Houston Flournoy Professor of State Government and Director, USC Price in Sacramento
Dave Sanson
Dave Sanson | Chief Executive Officer, DeNova Homes
Geoffrey Ross
Geoffrey Ross | Deputy Director, Financial Assistance -- Federal Programs, California Department of Housing and Community Development
Dan Dunmoyer
Dan Dunmoyer | President and Chief Executive Officer, California Building Industry Association

Lois Takahashi moderates a panel of public and private stakeholders on the roadblocks and success stories of rebuilding housing after fire in California, including Dave Sanson (DeNova Homes), Geoffrey Ross (California Department of Housing and Community Development) and Dan Dunmoyer (California Building Industry Association).

As California currently has a housing crisis due in part to the difficulties of constructing new and large-scale housing in the state, the panel concludes that rebuilding communities impacted by natural disaster remains a challenging process. Sanson points out that though most communities lack the resources to act quickly in rebuilding that requires federal support, a lack of unity via local control and NIMBYism also can hamper rebuilding efforts. Ross acknowledges that the federal system is not yet attuned to the unique needs of responding to fire, having focused for some time on flood, tornado, or hurricane relief. Though the question “should we rebuild” in fire-affected areas deserves examining, Dunmoyer identifies that homebuilding is not immune to natural disaster anywhere in California or even the US and emphasizes safe and smart building as a responsible solution.

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The Future of Cities, Remote Work, and Return to the Office

March 8, 2021
Edward Glaeser
Edward Glaeser | Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University
Richard Florida
Richard Florida | Professor, School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, & Co-Founder and Editor-At-Large, Bloomberg CityLab
Richard Peiser
Richard Peiser | Michael D. Spear Professor of Real Estate Development, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Though the end of the pandemic may seem in sight, many questions remain regarding which trends of the past year are permanent. Edward Glaeser and Richard Florida join Richard Peiser and Richard K. Green to confer on the potential outcomes for land use in the US.

While both Glaeser and Florida agree that cities at large will return to full strength and influence, they also see individual cities as vulnerable. Regarding office work, Glaeser cites studies that indicate maintaining office culture via remote channels performs well, but growing a company remotely brings significant challenges for both management and employee advancement. Florida sees shifts towards remote and remote-flexible work as a potential revolution in the real estate industry, particularly as amenity-rich smaller cities have an opportunity to build hubs using compact urban models similar to the 15-minute city.

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