Pete Saunders provides a counterpoint to the "spreading meme that the dominance of single-family zoning districts in major cities is artificially reducing housing supply." (Recent articles, for example, have cited Portland, San Francisco, and Kansas City to make this case.) Saunders's argument uses the example of Chicago, as described in a recent post distinguishing between "Rust Belt Chicago" and "Global Chicago," to make a point about all American cities currently experiencing a housing crunch in their urban cores.
"I don't believe we should be talking about expanding the global core at its margins. We should be talking about expanding development throughout the city," says Saunders. That is, "[if] young urbanists are serious about moving back to the city, maybe they ought to consider more of the city to live in."
"This push for more affordable housing in affluent city neighborhoods, because we like it there, is akin to the push for more suburban housing at the urban outskirts 60 years ago."
"We must be really careful in what we ask for in the development of our cities. Simply requesting relaxed land use regulations so that more units will be built could result in serious unintended consequences….It would not reduce residential and economic segregation, it would increase it, and contribute to one of the most vexing problems of our cities today -- the exploding bifurcation of our cities by race, class and opportunity."