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Torrent of Pro-Housing Policies Could Overwhelm California's Planners

Ben Metcalf recently stepped down as director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. His tenure coincided with adoption of aggressive new statewide policies. But are they too much of a good thing?
November 10, 2019, 9am PST | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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"The really exciting news is that the state's Department of Housing and Community Development is finally showing up with a knife – a sharp, shiny, youthful knife – to the gun fight. There now are significant tools that are being brought to bear. It's still not by any means commensurate with the scale of the challenge, but it has made the department relevant and impactful."

"I don't think that we've spent nearly enough time thinking about the ways in which our growth patterns are perpetuating or reinforcing policy decisions that were made at the local, state, and federal levels over the last half century or century that, at the time they were created, were implicitly or explicitly put in place to achieve ultimately racist goals of keeping out certain kinds of people. So I do think it's worth it both to reckon with those historic policies, and think about the ways in which, if we don't take action to correct them, they continue."

"I feel sympathetic also to folks out there in the field, the local planners and housing reps whose heads are spinning, just trying to keep up with everything going on at the state. And they're really hungry – they want to deliver, they want to make change. They believe in this work, but they're just having a hard time keeping up. I think one of the things that would be useful for us all going forward is to be a little bit more strategic about taking on fewer things in a given finite period of time and focusing more on the brass tacks of implementation."

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Published on Thursday, November 7, 2019 in California Planning & Development Report
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