How to Treat Housing as a Human Right

SPUR's housing report, "What Will it Really Take to Create an Affordable Bay Area," found that it will take 2.2 million units in the next 50 years to avoid worsening housing inequality.

Read Time: 1 minute

June 24, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery

Housing Construction

Alan Levine / Flickr

The San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) believes that housing is a fundamental human right. To supply housing that matches the rate of growth and support the needs of tenants and homeowners in California, housing needs to be produced constantly and efficiently. "In order to achieve this goal, we will need to build housing all the time, just as we build other critical infrastructure — that is, according to need and regardless of where we are in the economic cycle. Under our existing system, housing, particularly market-rate housing, requires rising rents (or falling construction costs) in order to be financially feasible," writes SPUR senior advisor Sarah Karlinsky. 

Karlinsky continues, listing benefits of "smoothing out the housing delivery system"—the efficient use of public resources when constructing during an economic downturn, preventing job loss through the demand of construction labor, and the ability of new housing construction to aid the recovering economy. Suggesting six policy changes to address the current lack of housing, Karlinsky asserts that while addressing the housing crisis during a global pandemic and recession is difficult, it's the time to change policy to make housing affordable for everyone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 in SPUR

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of Bend, Oregon with river and old mill district

Bend Eliminates Parking Minimums

The city is complying with an Oregon state mandate that some cities have challenged in court.

January 20, 2023 - KTVZ

Sunset view over canal and downtown Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale Cuts Water Supply to Nearby Suburb

The city claims it has no responsibility to provide water to the unincorporated Maricopa County community.

January 18, 2023 - The Washington Post

Aerial view of Ogden, Utah with Wasatch Mountains in the background

Utah Could Eliminate Parking Requirements Near Transit

A proposed state bill would bar cities from requiring parking in areas adjacent to transit stations in an effort to make housing production more affordable and encourage walking and transit use.

5 hours ago - The Salt Lake Tribune

People on bikes on crowded Rue de Rivoli in Paris in 2020

Where Pandemic Bike Improvements Won Out

While some cities are reverting back to pre-pandemic street configurations, others are taking advantage of the momentum for bike and pedestrian infrastructure to make pandemic-era projects permanent.

7 hours ago - Momentum Magazine

Atlanta Rail Service

Atlanta Transit Plans Stall Due to Budget Concerns

With MARTA facing a potential billion dollar shortfall, the agency says it can’t fulfill its system expansion plan.

January 29 - Urbanize Atlanta