housing

An Abundance Research Agenda

If we need to build lots of things fast to address climate and housing crises, how will we do that?

There’s been a lot of buzz about this column by Ezra Klein in the New York Times.  Klein’s basic argument: We need to do a lot of infrastructure and other development projects to make the world a better place.  For example, we’ll need to build power lines and renewable projects to address climate change.  But …

CONTINUE READING

What power does the state have over land-use regulation in California?

State court concludes that state does have the authority to intervene in local regulation of land-use

A big court ruling in California land-use law happened last month – and it has really large implications for the state’s efforts to address California’s housing crisis. The lawsuit is a challenge by a pro-housing advocacy group (California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CARLA)) to a decision by the City of San Mateo to …

CONTINUE READING

Why Local Governments Underproduce Housing

Local control over land-use regulation means local governments focus more on the harms than the benefits of housing

As governments in California and across the United States wrestle with how to address soaring housing costs, a significant flashpoint has been the issue of local control.  Most land-use regulation in the United States is done by local governments: cities, counties, towns, villages.  In California, much of the legislation intended to increase housing production has …

CONTINUE READING

California Enacts Historic Housing Reform Laws

Legislation Promotes New Housing, Infill Development, & Reduced Air Pollution

The California Legislature recently enacted, and Governor Gavin Newsom last week signed into law, two major housing reform measures.  SB 9 and SB 10 represent California’s most transformative new housing laws in decades, and are a belated but welcome legislative response to the state’s longstanding housing crisis. SB 9, authored by California State Senate leader …

CONTINUE READING

The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

CONTINUE READING

Learning Lessons from Los Angeles’s TOC Program

Challenges and opportunities as TOC continues to drive affordable housing production

I’ve written before about Los Angeles’ Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Program, an inclusionary housing program designed to allow for increased density in residential and mixed-use projects near major transit stops in exchange for a developer commitment to include a set percentage of affordable housing units in those projects.  Since implementation began in late 2017, the …

CONTINUE READING

A Legislative Response to California’s Housing Emergency: Senator Skinner’s SB 330

How to Make a Good Bill Even Better

(This post is co-authored by U.C. Davis Law School Professor Chris Elmendorf)  Last week, as President Trump harrumphed about the faux emergency on our nation’s Southern border, California State Senator Nancy Skinner introduced a potentially transformative bill that addresses California’s real emergency: the ever-escalating cost of housing in the state’s economically productive metropolitan regions. As …

CONTINUE READING

LA’s Trying to Build Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing

But could we make it easier?

My colleague Jonathan Zasloff rightly points out that one way to harness the benefits of upzoning to alleviate our housing crisis is to promote inclusionary requirements for transit-oriented development.  Los Angeles has adopted just such a program through its Transit-Oriented Communities ordinance, which I’ve written about here. Per the City of Los Angeles’ initial assessment, …

CONTINUE READING

Surveying the Landscape of Local Zoning and CEQA

First report from Berkeley/Columbia research project shows how Bay Area residential developments negotiate land-use and CEQA review

A group of interdisciplinary researchers from law and planning (which I am part of) just released its first report on how CEQA and land-use law shape the process of regulating and approving residential developments in five Bay Area cities.  (I first posted about our research here.)  I’ve included the Executive Summary below, and the full …

CONTINUE READING

Where To Build Housing In California Through 2030

Join Berkeley Law’s Free Webinar On Wednesday, May 17th, 11am to Noon

California isn’t building enough housing to meet jobs and population growth, and what housing is getting built is happening too much in sprawl areas on greenfields. While this greenfield-focused development may please pro-sprawl conservatives, it will worsen traffic and air pollution and keep the state from meeting its long-term environmental goals. To discuss where and …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING