Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Is the Height Act Responsible for D.C.'s Sky High Housing Prices?

The Height Act is up for debate again in Washington, D.C., amidst an emotional debate about housing affordability.
December 19, 2019, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
Washington, D.C. Apartment Building
The Cairo, an apartment building built in 1894 with consequences that influence the District to this day.
Ben Schumin

Martin Austermuhle reports on a new of questions connecting the D.C. Height Act with skyrocketing housing prices.

For the past 110 years, a federal law known as the Height Act has set a limit on how tall buildings in the city can be. Supporters of the law say it has created an iconic and eminently livable city free of skyscrapers that can create concrete canyons and cast ever-present shadows along streets and homes.

Others, however, say there's a link between the Height Act and the quickly rising cost of rent in the nation's capital.

The article includes a primer on the D.C. Height Act, which includes a few surprises if you've ever been privy to some of the (false) folklore on the subject. Also included are sections devoted to discussing the height act with Christopher Leinberger, prominent local supporters of the height act, and the ongoing debate about how to control housing prices in the District—Height Act reform or not.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 in WAMU
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email