Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 14, 2021

In this house…

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

This was an excellent op-ed on how being “liberal” in California oftentimes doesn’t always translate in people’s backyards. Written by a UCLA professor of urban planning it gets to the heart of the issue of development and NIMBYism. From the SF Chronicle:

California’s housing shortage threatens to make a mockery of its other progressive accomplishments.

Our state remains deeply segregated by income and race. Its poverty rate,when living expenses are accounted for, is the nation’s highest. Soaring rents and home prices force many people to live far from where they work, contributing to long commutes and climate change. Most visibly and tragically, in a state that prides itself for offering opportunity, over 150,000 people are homeless. They live in cars, sidewalk tents, or rough encampments next to freeways and under bridges.

These problems stem, at least in part, from California’s longstanding hostility to development.

And it seems as though housing is one issue that can be divorced from all other political issues:

In recent years, social scientists have started to systematically documentthe connection between homeownership and attitudes toward development. My own research examined statewide public opinion data from Californians and found that homeowners, even liberal ones, were more likely to oppose housing of every kind. Tellingly, owning a home did not influence attitudes about national policies, like gun control or health care; it only shifted opinions about housing

This part goes to the heart of what every YIMBY tries to explain in the face of people saying “well new housing is all luxury housing and therefore we shouldn’t build it!”:

This admittedly seems strange, because allowing market-rate development does mean producing expensive housing. But so does not allowing development.

When we don’t build, the price of existing housing goes up. Instead of turning empty lots into expensive homes, we turn cheap homes into expensive homes. The consequences are less visible — it’s easier to notice a new building physically than an old building’s price rising — but also more damaging.

Blocking supply doesn’t blunt demand. As long our economy booms, high-income people will come to California. Our housing policy can divert these people into gleaming new buildings when they arrive or unleash them onto older buildings where our lower-income residents currently live.

The whole piece is worth a read if you actually do care about affordability of housing and housing the unhoused.

1 Comment »

  1. Tired: Liberals
    Wired: Progressives

    Here’s a song about it:

    Comment by Rod — September 14, 2021 @ 9:15 am

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