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Opinion: Regional Planning Fails the Needs of Southern California's Housing Crisis

The director of a leading "Yes In My Backyard" (YIMBY) organization in Southern California questions the effectiveness of a Regional Housing Needs Assessment methodology recently published by the Southern California Association of Governments.
October 28, 2019, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Leonara Camara, managing director of Abundant Housing LA, pens an opinion piece that calls out the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for its response to the region's ongoing housing affordability crisis.

SCAG recently published its plan (technically a draft Regional Housing Needs Assessment methodology) in response to a mandate issued in August by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Camara's assessment of the plan: "disappointing, to say they least."

"Instead of making the radical changes Newsom was looking for to fight the housing crisis, SCAG’s approach is more of the same: It leaves wealthy, exclusionary cities with massive jobs pools alone in lieu of disproportionately dumping housing into the sprawling exurbs," writes Camara.

Included among the evidence included in the SCAG report, as described by Camara: "Beverly Hills, which has nearly twice as many jobs (57,000) as people (34,400), needs only 1,373 new units of housing. Meanwhile, the desert city of Coachella, with a population of 42,400 and 8,500 jobs, will be expected to build a whopping 15,154 units."

The RHNA methodology is connected to SCAG's Sustainable Communities Strategy, and Camara argues that connecting this RHNA to sustainability only be described as the most wishful kind of thinking. "We know exactly what the results of this housing/jobs imbalance will be: more mega-car commutes and the continued rise of greenhouse gas emissions."

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Published on Friday, October 25, 2019 in Los Angeles Times
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