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Climate Crisis, Housing Crisis on a Collision Course

Sprawl might relieve the housing crisis, but it would also exacerbate the climate crisis. Tough choices will be necessary in regions like San Diego, where the question of where to accommodate growth is very much in question.
July 2, 2019, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sean Pavone

Joshua Emerson Smith locates the intersection of the competing dynamics of dual crises, of climate and housing, in the region of San Diego:

The San Diego region is on the front lines of a statewide push to abandon suburban development in favor of building denser urban communities — a vision many California leaders have called for to curb greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.

Forcing existing neighborhoods, however, to shoulder increasingly more development is proving expensive and slow at a time when San Diego and many other regions are suffering a severe lack of affordable housing.

Some policy makers in the San Diego region want to "[widen] highways and [build] large master-planned communities far from urban job centers," according to Smith, as a response to the ongoing housing crisis in San Diego. Some 10,000 units of greenfield development on the periphery of the region are currently under consideration for approval. Local politicians around the region are pushing for projects to state routes 78 and 56 to relieve congestion and accommodate growth.

Environmental grounds like the Sierra Club are pushing back on sprawl, according to Smith, while the regional planning agency that goes by the acronym SANDAG is having trouble convincing local officials to support an urban and transit oriented vision of growth for the region. An exception can be found with San Diego Mayor Kevin Falcouner, who has spearheaded and supported a series of pro-development reforms in the city, including a law approved in March 2019 that ends parking minimums for all future developments in the city.

The article includes soundbites and opinions on the development vision of the future for the region, and proposed solutions to the housing and climate crises, from politicians and advocacy organizations on all sides of the issues.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, June 24, 2019 in The San Diego Union-Tribune
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