To the Daily:
The economics of luxury student housing
I commend last week’s editorial about the proposed University Village apartment complex for acknowledging that the responsible thing for Ann Arbor to do is increase density by growing upward, not outward (Moving up, not out, 03/10/2008). I also commend the editorial’s praise of the University Village developer’s decision to use green building methods and materials. However, the article’s argument against the complex being an upscale student housing development because it would not help make student housing more affordable was flawed.
As a student whose focus is real estate, I agree that the high rent compared to the poor quality of student housing in Ann Arbor is out of whack. A project like University Village will help the situation, though, according to the basic principles of supply and demand. Increasing the supply of modern housing, even when expensive, increases the total supply and reduces price. When students move out of their current houses and into new complexes like University Village and Zaragon Place, the owners of less desirable properties are encouraged to renovate their outdated, dilapidated properties or risk being shut out of the market. This means that higher quality rentals at less expensive rents.
Furthermore, the argument that luxury developments increase class segregation is faulty. Presently, less-wealthy students are forced to live far away from campus. Increasing the density near Central Campus – along with the economics described above – allows these less-wealthy students to have access to better locations at lower costs. Everyone then gets to live closer to campus, bringing students closer together. Up-to-date affordable housing is absolutely a necessity. Projects like University Village indirectly make such housing more likely by dropping the price, making current housing comparably less desirable and increasing owners’ incentive to renovate.
Trashing free speech at the Posting Wall
I went to the Posting Wall with a friend early Wednesday morning to put up fliers for Students for Life’s Diag Day. We finished posting the fliers around 6:45 a.m. and left with a sense of accomplishment. However, when I returned to Angell Hall an hour later, I was shocked to see that all of our fliers had been torn down while all other groups’ fliers remained posted.
Our fliers did not say anything offensive. Even if they had, no one has the right to remove them. These fliers were simply inviting people to attend our informational event on the Diag. I was (and still am) confused why someone would take our fliers down at such a diverse, forward-thinking, open-minded university?
The letter writer is the vice president of Students for Life.