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'Gentle Density' to Save Neighborhoods

Cities looking to follow Minneapolis's lead in overturning the status quo of exclusionary zoning should consider "gentle density," according to this article.
December 8, 2019, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Kim Seidl

Alex Baca, Patrick McAnaney, and Jenny Schuetz write about a potential approach to several of the challenges in the American housing market: gentle density.

"[As] communities across the U.S. grapple with worsening housing affordability, there is growing interest in how zoning rules could be relaxed to allow smaller, less expensive homes," write the trio. "While high-rise apartments in strategic locations should be part of the solution, many single-family neighborhoods could easily yield more housing—and more affordable housing—if land use rules allowed 'gentle' increases in density, such as townhomes, two- to four-family homes, and small-scale apartment or condominium buildings."

The bulk of the article is devoted to illustrating how gentle density could increase the number of homes and lower housing costs in Washington, D.C.

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Published on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 in Brookings
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