Justin

Justin Holman is CEO of TerraSeer, where he leads efforts to develop cutting edge sales forecasting and inventory optimization technology for the Automotive Aftermarket. Prior to joining TerraSeer, Justin managed corporate consulting for the Strategy & Analytics division at MapInfo Corporation, leading major projects for retail clients including The Home Depot, Darden Restaurants, Bridgestone-Firestone, Sainsbury’s and New York & Company. Before that, Justin served as Vice President of Software Development at LogicTools, now part of IBM's supply chain application software group. Justin holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and an Executive Management certificate from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

12 Comments

  • Bill Christner Jr, Ph.D. 3 years ago

    A very eloquent way to telling someone they’re a moron. Well said, well said indeed.

  • Ian Allan 3 years ago

    Hi Justin

    Thanks for this really intelligent article. In Australia, we used to start the planning process with Land Capability and Land Suitability mapping. The department responsible for that was shut down in the 80s. These days we seem to build nearly anywhere,engineer our way around the worst constraints, and insure against the balance. Wildfire areas seem to be managed via personal and community fire plans. Agreed though. You can’t engineer your way around earthquake and landslip prone areas.

    Geographers have a real role to play in bringing broad-based common-sense to economic assertions such as the one you’re writing about. Do you think the profession is playing it?

    Ian

    • Justin 3 years ago

      Hi Ian, thanks for the comment! No, I don’t think professional geographers are playing their role. Part of the blame is a general disregard for the discipline. The other part of the blame, in my opinion, is due to the idiotic publishing circus driving academic promotion and tenure. Lots of good geography being done and then buried in obscurity. We need more geographers focusing on salient contemporary problems and making their ideas more accessible to the public. Thanks again! Best, Justin

      • Sally 3 years ago

        I will keep this advice in mind as I start my Ph.D. geography program. I am so going to share this post with my brother, a Silicon Valley physicist who lives on that fragile ridge west of 280 near Ben Lomand. It will help in his work with the homeowners’ association there!

        • Justin 3 years ago

          Thanks Sally! Let me know if he’s able to put it to some productive use. Best wishes, Justin

  • Ken Davis 2 years ago

    The cost of “protecting people from the inevitable wildfire activity is far too high” for what? If it’s subsidized by the government then let the market determine if the mystery “too high” is real, or a figment of your imagination. If it is subsidized, how much are the costs that are distributed to the rest of the state? If not, then what is it too high for? It’s clearly not for the million or so people that live there. I know Colorado is sparsely populated, so if the wildfires pose that much of a danger you’re probably seeing the government subsidize the rates below what the market would allow. But who knows because your analysis doesn’t go into any of that. Just a vague “far too high.”

    So what if Sowell’s prime area is mountainous? Builders and engineers figured out how to build in mountains thousands of years ago. You admit there are already homes there so what is your point? That it costs more to build on a mountain? That’s not exactly original, but to be sure, it doesn’t cost an additional million and a half dollars to build 1200 square feet of dilapidated crap.

    There was a big earthquake 110 years ago? Do you think insurance companies don’t factor that into their policies? They also factor tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and all sorts of natural disasters into their rates. Let those projections determine the price to live there and we’ll see if it’s worth it or if it’s beyond your magical threshold of “far too high.” You display no recognition that risks apply to death, wealth, quality of life and numerous other things. Yet you’re sure you know which risks are too great. Your risk of dying in an automobile accident is greater than your risk of dying in an earthquake in a house built in the area Sowell mentions. That’s something we can test empirically and reach a definitive answer because, as you said, there’s already housing there. But of course your answer will be “someday,” or “it might,” or any of a host of words that can be twisted to fit a particular worldview with no actual relation to reality.

    I’d much prefer the virtually non-existent decline in housing prices in Houston to the “fall off a cliff” free-fall that happened in San Fran during the crash. And the traffic is an example of bad government policy-roads where the costs are not distributed by use- as opposed to the “strong conservative principles” nonsense that exists in your imagination. If that’s an example of the grasp of basic economics employed by most geographers, then maybe Dr. Sowell will send you a copy of a basic economics text. That said, I’d like to see your data on traffic congestion, because San Francisco is consistently ranked as one of the most congested cities with the longest commutes in America. The last one I saw had it 2nd behind Los Angeles. According to the US Census Bureau(note to geologists: that’s an agency that keeps track of population, kinds of people, income, commutes, and all sorts of other things so if someone decides to compare cities they’ll have an inkling of what they’re referring to), San Francisco had a mean commute to work time that was longer than Houston’s. Congrats!

    Reason # 4 might be the most economically illiterate paragraph ever written. There are numerous examples of places with great demand that don’t have San Francisco’s ridiculous prices. Houston, for starters. The fasting growing suburban area in the history of the world(so much for “unbearable” traffic) over a 20 year period with no housing bubble. Without government constraints, supply will quickly meet demand. You know the example you just used where people want to live next to great places to work and outdoor music venues and other things that you prefer and think are cool? Well that same demand creates demand for construction workers and developers and builders. Funny how they like to live where people are moving, huh?

    Enjoy your artificially inflated housing value. Oh wait, they’re dropping off a cliff as we speak, once again. Of course you can blame it on Silicon Valley’s boom and bust cycle, while ignoring the same price declines in cities-with similar housing policies- thousands of miles from the Valley. Oh well, enjoy the view.

  • The Supply and Demand Fraud | Geographical Perspectives 2 years ago

    […] his newest column on the topic he continues his geographically illiterate approach to solving the affordable housing problem in the San Francisco Ba…. It amazes me how economists cling to naive neoclassical theories when they so quickly fall apart […]

  • Clarke Conant 2 years ago

    Great writing, Justin.

    I would add one thing. The experiment has already been done 400 miles to the south. Unrestricted growth policies in LA have created lots more really really expensive housing.

    Clarke

    • Justin 2 years ago

      Thanks, Clarke! And great point re LA!

  • Walter Karpetting 2 years ago

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