Land Use

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 …

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Can Soils Solve Climate Change?

Carbon-rich soil, in eastern Pennsylvania, from Flickr user soilscience

Another dubious claim of natural climate solutions makes the rounds

A few months ago, I questioned a claim that planting trees could solve climate change. According to some scientists, reforestation “is by far the cheapest solution that has ever been proposed,” and for $300 billion it could sequester 200 gigatons of carbon (GtC, or 733 GtCO2). Many media outlets swooned, but the assertions were weak …

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TOC Under Fire

Fix the City’s new lawsuit challenges a key transit-oriented housing program

Last week, a Los Angeles slow-growth group, Fix the City, filed a lawsuit challenging a West Los Angeles development project on Santa Monica Boulevard.  The project, a seven-story, 120-unit apartment building less than half a mile from the Century City mall, was approved using density bonus, height, and setback incentives through the City of Los …

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Parking versus Housing at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley faces same dilemma as much of rest of California in addressing the housing crisis

UC Berkeley is not immune to California’s housing crisis. Indeed, as the student newspaper noted, the campus “has housing for 22 percent of undergrads and 9 percent of graduate students – vastly lower than the UC average of 38.1 percent for undergraduates and 19.6 percent for graduate students.” Moreover, soaring housing costs have made it …

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What I Wish The Green New Deal Hadn’t Left Out

Greening our infrastructure is part of the solution, but so’s city planning.

While there’s certainly been no shortage of criticism of last week’s Green New Deal resolution, the common line hasn’t been that the resolution doesn’t try to cover enough ground.  On the contrary, it’s been called an everything-but-the-carbon-sink approach; even Trevor Noah devoted a few minutes of the Daily Show to gaping at the proposal’s efforts …

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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, …

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Developing Policy from the Ground Up

New article provides more detailed data and analysis of housing entitlement in the Bay Area

This blog post (and the underlying article) was co-authored by Moira O’Neill, Giulia Gualco-Nelson, and Eric Biber. Our team has released a new article on land-use regulation and housing in the Bay Area, building on our report from last February that explored the role of local law and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on …

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We’re Never Going to Meet Our GHG Transportation Goals Unless We Radically Rethink Our Cities

Introducing an ongoing series focused on reducing vehicle miles traveled as a crucial climate mitigation strategy

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about vehicle miles traveled, or VMT. Specifically, why is it so hard to get people to think seriously about reducing VMT as a climate mitigation strategy? Building on my earlier ode to electric scooters, this post begins a semi-regular series on different aspects of VMT reduction strategies, beginning with …

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CEQA and Local Land Use Regulations: Shakedown Street

Local Government Discretion Has Powerful Political Support

Eric’s post the other day about CEQA and local land use regulation states an important and often-overlooked truth: environmental review can only hold up a project if it is discretionary. If local land use regulations state clearly what a developer can and cannot do, then no amount of environmental review could change a decision, and …

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SB 827 and the Concept of Deregulation

When land-use deregulation gets characterized as regulation, and why

Perhaps the biggest topic in land-use law and housing affordability in California over the past couple of months has been a piece of legislation introduced by State Senator Wiener, SB 827.  Ethan has blogged quite a bit about the bill – the basic concept of the legislation is to eliminate or significantly restrict a number …

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