Land Use

More Tree-Huggers, Please

The Anti-Environmentalist Epithet Actually Derives From India’s Great Environmental Justice Movement

If you want to insult an environmentalist, the standard go-to is to dismiss them as a “tree-hugger.” But where does the term come from? The answer might surprise you: The term ‘tree-hugger’ originated not as an insult but as a protest tactic. It is said to date back to 1730, when a village of Bishnois […]

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New report on housing entitlement in LA

Report covers regulatory approvals for residential projects in four LA cities in 2014-16

I’ve blogged previously about work that a team here at UC Berkeley (Moira O’Neill, Giulia Gualco-Nelson, and myself) have been doing on studying land-use regulation, environmental law, and housing production in California, to get a better sense of how regulatory processes may be driving the housing crisis in the state, and eventually to produce specific […]

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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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Yellow Light for YIMBYs: Upzoning Can Increase Housing Prices

New Research Indicates That Inclusionary Zoning Should Accompany Liberalization

Well, that’s not what YIMBYs wanted. Yonah Freemark of MIT in the Urban Affairs Review: What are the local-level impacts of zoning change? I study recent Chicago upzonings that increased allowed densities and reduced parking requirements in a manner exogenous of development plans and neighborhood characteristics. To evaluate outcomes, I use difference-in-differences tests on property […]

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New CEQA SB 743 Transportation Guidelines Finally Finalized

Critical revisions will be discussed at March 1st Conference in Los Angeles — register now!

It took five years, but California has finally ditched an outdated and counter-productive metric for evaluating transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). With the guidelines finalized on December 28th, a mere half-decade since the passage of SB 743 (Steinberg) in 2013, the state will ditch “auto delay” as a measure of project […]

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Jerry Brown’s Top Climate Accomplishments

Amazing successes, coupled with unfinished business

Today California inaugurates a new governor, Gavin Newsom, and says goodbye to four-term governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown made climate change a central issue in his last two terms. Rick already offered an excellent assessment of the governor’s overall environmental accomplishments, so here are (to my mind) his top achievements on the specific issue of […]

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Assessing–and Celebrating–California Governor Jerry Brown’s Environmental Legacy

Governor Brown Easily Ranks as the Top Environmental Governor in State History

Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got `Til it’s gone         –Joni Mitchell (“Big Yellow Taxi”) On this, the last day of Jerry Brown‘s tenure as California’s governor, it’s appropriate to reflect on Governor Brown’s environmental legacy.  And a most formidable legacy it’s been. Brown has, quite […]

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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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Auctioning the Upzone: A New Strategy for Inducing Local-Government Compliance with State Housing Policies

New White Paper by U.C. Davis Law Professors Recommends Market-Based Tool to Incentivize Intensified Urban Development in California and Beyond

(Note: the following post was co-authored by U.C. Davis School of Law Professors Chris Elmendorf and Darien Shanske; the white paper discussed in the post is their work product.)  California’s housing policies–a topic that for years received precious little attention from state officials–has suddenly become the Golden State’s hottest political and policy issue.  The California Legislature passed […]

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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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