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.

1 minute read

October 28, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

San Bernardino Skyline

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."

Friday, October 25, 2019 in Los Angeles Times

Black and white Rideshare Pick-Up Zone sign

The Slow Death of Ride Sharing

From the beginning, TNCs like Lyft and Uber touted shared rides as their key product. Now, Lyft is ending the practice.

June 1, 2023 - Human Transit

Urban sidewalk shaded by large mature trees

Cool Walkability Planning

Shadeways (covered sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate controlled walkways) can provide comfortable walkability in hot climates. The Cool Walkshed Index can help plan these facilities.

June 1, 2023 - Todd Litman

Interstate 55 with cars and green freeway signs in Chicago, Illinois

Illinois Legislators Pass Controversial I-55 Road Expansion Legislation

Legislation to enable the addition of express toll lanes on Interstate 55 in the Southwest Side of Chicago, opposed by environmental justice advocates, cleared the Illinois General Assembly last month.

June 7, 2023 - Chicago Tribune

Two blue and white tents on a paved bike trail under an overpass in San Diego, California with palm tree and vegetation on one side

How San Diego Camping Ban Could Impact Neighborhoods

An ordinance supported by the city’s mayor would bar people from sleeping on the street near shelters or services, but critics say it will simply push people to other neighborhoods and put them farther away from the supportive services they need.

June 8 - Voice of San Diego

Small white one-story building with Maggie Hathaway Golf Course sign with American flag on flagpole and green lawn

Expanding Access to Golf in South Los Angeles

L.A. County’s Maggie Hathaway Golf Course getting up to $15 Million from U.S. Open Community Legacy Project to expand access to the sport in South L.A.

June 8 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story housing under construction

Opinion: Failed Housing Bills Could Signal California-Style Housing Crisis in Texas

Legislators in a state that so often touts its policies as the opposite of California’s defeated several bills that would have made housing construction easier, leading to concerns that a constricted housing market may exacerbate the housing crisis.

June 8 - The Dallas Morning News

Principal Planner – Advanced Plans

Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Department

Planning Officer

City of Bangor

Planning Director

Park City Municipal Corporation

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.