Land Use

Supreme Court Takes a Knick Out of Regulatory Takings Law

Justices Curb Ripeness Rule; Open Federal Courts to Takings Litigation

In the final, major environmental law decision of its current Term, the U.S. Supreme Court handed property rights advocates a major victory while repudiating an important regulatory takings precedent the Court had itself fashioned and announced 34 years ago. The case is Knick v. Township of Scott.  By a narrow 5-4 vote that split along […]

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Sen. Portantino Spikes California’s Critical Housing & Climate Legislation

Will Gov. Newsom and Sen. Atkins Rescue SB 50?

California faces a dual crisis: a massive housing shortage leading to displacement and spiraling economic inequality; and an increase in driving miles and related greenhouse gas emissions which threaten to undermine the state’s progress achieving its climate goals. Both of these crises were solidly addressed in Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 50, which seeks to ease […]

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California Housing Reform Goes Into Suspended Animation

NIMBYs Win A Battle, But Trench Warfare Continues

  The NIMBYs have won a battle: A high-profile bill that would have increased home building near mass transit and in single-family home neighborhoods across California has been killed for the year, ending a major battle over how to address the state’s housing affordability crisis that has attracted attention nationwide. Senate Bill 50 by Sen. […]

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In Defense of Live Carbon

Why Stopping Deforestation May be the Hardest and Most Important Part of the Climate Change Challenge

When contemplating the enormous challenge of global climate change, it is sometimes helpful to think about a simple model of the global carbon budget (see figure below).  These admittedly reductionist schematics distinguish between sources, sinks, and reservoirs.  Fossil hydrocarbons from the geological reservoir–call this dead carbon—are extracted and burned to generate energy, emitting vast amounts […]

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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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Getting Lost In The Woods?

New Study From India Points to Dangers From Forestry Sector Emissions Trading

Despite the Trump Administration’s dedication to melting the planet, the rest of the world is gamely pushing ahead with implementing the Paris Accord, and that means programs like United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The two are linked, because […]

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HUGE

New Addition to California’s Infill Housing Bill Could Transform the State’s Land Use

If there is one journalistic phrase I despise, it is “game-changer.” Everything seems to be a game-changer, no matter how small. But amendments just approved by the California State Senate for SB 50, Scott Wiener’s controversial bill upzoning lots near transit could be, well, a game-changer: On Wednesday, a key committee signed off on Senate […]

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Why Is Los Angeles Embracing Stupid Growth?

Council Wants Hotels, But No Housing

Yesterday, I expressed wonder that the City of Los Angeles actually did planning right for a change. Obviously, I jinxed it. Reducing VMT, and thus carbon emissions, requires cities to plan and zone for affordable housing (whether defined as deed-restricted or simply at a reasonable market rate). But despite city leaders’ claims of an affordable […]

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Grandma Saves The City!

New Data Shows Hope For Affordable Housing In the Most Unlikely Place: Los Angeles

It’s not often that you get some good planning news from Los Angeles, but at least if you believe the City’s numbers, there are some. The Planning Department’s latest housing numbers, from its year-end 2018 Quarterly Report, state that in light of SB 1069 (Wieckowski), which substantially liberalized the construction of Accessory Dwellling Units (ADUs), […]

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Can Voter Registration Combat NIMBYism?

Homeless Voting Can Change the Urban Political Calculus

NIMBY land use politics stems from a classic political process failure: the people who would benefit from more housing do not yet live in the jurisdiction where it will be built — and for the most part, do not even know that they will be the ones who will live there. Thus, local officeholders have […]

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