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Modest Densification, a Strategy to Alleviate the Housing Crisis?
A new analysis shows that even small-scale upzoning in metropolitan areas could provide a substantial amount of new housing. '[Issi Romem] found that even modest densification efforts could have significant impact nationwide—across the 17 metro areas analyzed, allowing 10 percent of single-family lots to house two units instead of one could yield almost 3.3 million additional housing units—and especially in California," writes Patrick Sisson.
In addition, Romem argues that such upzoning, which would largely involve accessory dwelling units and smaller multi-family residential buildings, would not drastically change the character of neighborhoods. The densification would be less concentrated than other housing strategies, but it would provide environmental benefits and also keep home prices from increasing substantially.
As a result, it would be a more politically feasible alternative in a state like California. "It’s the 'missing middle' proposal, a reference to types of smaller multi-unit housing structures that traditionally provided more affordable housing, but tend to not be built today due to land costs and other economic pressures," adds Sisson.