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Around the Block, Friday Round-Up Ed.

At a Glance Urban Institute and Brookings Institution ask whether it’s better to laugh or cry about the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, which caused the monumental plunge in housing sales last month. Ed Pinto tells Congress the Administration’s foreclosure prevention program is too convoluted. New York Times rounds up the responses to Fannie Mae’s announcement that it will crack down on homeowners who walk away from their mortgages. Felix Salmon doesn’t mince words: “This is going to do significant harm, and it’s going to do no substantial good at all.”

Have You Heard? Negotiations between the House and Senate on the financial reform bill appear to be over, though there’s still a question whether big banks will be on the hook for Fannie and Freddie, based on a last minute provision from late last night.

Futurama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan gave a speech at The Atlantic’s “Future of the City” forum yesterday, where he touched on a subject near to NHC and the Center’s heart(s), helping workers find affordable housing close to work. Secretary Donovan also announced $100 million for regional sustainable planning grants.

Death of Pleasantville, Cont. As the chatter over urban revival gets louder, Richard Florida discusses the “deep and fundamental changes in America’s economic geography” that are driving it.

Walking the Walk With more people getting around by foot these days, the Dept. of Transportation is rewarding them by tripling the budget for pedestrian and bicycling programs (this may be old news, but the link includes an awesome graphic).

Last But Not Least (though definitely the most miniature): The 10 smallest homes in the world. Believe it or not, movie-buffs, the one above is not from Woody Allen.

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