These are interesting times in the housing world. The unprecedented housing crisis statewide in California, and locally in San Diego, is forging unprecedented coalitions among affordable housing advocates, community-based organizations, labor unions and environmentalists. These coalitions are galvanizing in response to the demand from their members to put all options on the table to tackle this crisis that is taking a significant toll on all of us. [Read more…] about Labor, Environment, and Social Justice Groups create coalition to facilitate and advocate for affordable housing in San Diego.
Solving San Diego’s housing crisis is going to require creative thinking and input from many different groups – neighborhood residents, experts in planning, and elected officials, just to name a few. [Read more…] about Series of Events to Address San Diego’s Housing Crisis
Governor Jerry Brown’s “Streamlining Affordable Housing Approvals” proposal will have far-reaching consequences on urban planning in cities and counties across California. However, there has been little discussion about the real-world consequences of this policy on the planning profession with regard to public participation. [Read more…] about Why Gov. Brown’s housing plan is bad for planning
With rising inequality, a looming climate change crisis, and persistent state of housing unaffordability being the defining issues in the growth of American cities in the twenty-first century, it is time for urban planners to take social policy seriously. Too often, social policy is relegated to a specialized role for advocacy planners, at other times ignored completely for being too political, and often times dismissed as “creeping socialism” that is inappropriate in land-use planning. This prompted planning legend Norman Krumholtz to call the profession “timid,” not as much to reflect on the work ethics of rank-and-file planners, but the leadership of those in power, who do not allow planning to pursue equity objectives. The most powerful piece on the planning chess-board is unavailable to most urban planners. [Read more…] about Urban planning without social equity is like playing chess without the queen.
As the economy improves, California’s affordable housing crisis is worsening. The average rent in California ($1,240) is almost fifty percent higher than the national average. This is pricing out our state’s low-wage blue collar workers, who have flat incomes and rising commutes. It would take a service worker in San Jose 20 years to save up enough to buy a home. [Read more…] about How to fix California’s Housing Affordability Crisis
There is a building boom across California, but many communities have been historically left behind. Property tax increment has served as a planning and investment tool to provide public benefits such as affordable housing, good jobs and neighborhood amenities. However, with the end of redevelopment, cash-poor cities across California are exploring innovative strategies to fund public benefits. One such strategy is to partner with developers for community benefits in exchange for planning and development rights. [Read more…] about How Communities can Benefit from Private Development in California
Nobody likes uncertainty. Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors. [Read more…] about In Defense of Uncertainty
With the demise of redevelopment in California, some cities are looking for creative ways to stay solvent. One idea is to leverage New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) to buy properties and become landlords. This acquisition fund concept was recently adopted by Civic San Diego (CivicSD), a nonprofit corporation that is a consultant to the city of San Diego on the wind-down of redevelopment. [Read more…] about Beware of Wall Street Schemes on Redevelopment
In this age of planning emphasis on “smart growth,” “new urbanism,” “transit oriented development,” “infill development” and so on, density and proximity to transit corridors sometimes overshadow all other considerations. Zoning and Community plans years in the making, with wide participation, are now being viewed by some property owners and city officials as obsolete and vulnerable. Local residents are increasingly resentful as they experience frontal assaults to the scale and character of their neighborhoods – the essence of how they identify with their neighborhoods. [Read more…] about Three Reasons Neighborhood Identity is Paramount in Smart Growth