Opinion: California's Article 34 Drives Segregation and Cripples Affordable Housing. It's Time To Repeal It.

A little-known provision in California's state constitution enables exclusionary policies under the guise of local control.

March 17, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Riverside, California

Orange Grove / Shutterstock

The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board advocates for the repeal of a "racist, classist provision in the state Constitution that makes it harder to build affordable housing." According to the editorial, "Article 34 was adopted in 1950 amid a discriminatory backlash against public housing. It requires that cities get voter approval before they build 'low-rent housing' funded with public dollars."

"Advocates for the repeal have found in polling that voters have a knee-jerk reaction against giving up their right to control what gets built in their community. But the polls have also found that once voters understand the roots of Article 34 and the way it has fueled segregation and inequality, they support the repeal." To that end, "Advocates are struggling to raise the estimated $20 million necessary to run a successful statewide campaign to educate voters on California’s ugly history of housing discrimination."

The board writes that "Supporting the repeal is a way for civic-minded donors, companies and organizations to help right a historical wrong and remove a barrier to building affordable homes for the most vulnerable residents at a time when the state is mired in homelessness."

Born out of racist mid-century fears after the federal Housing Act of 1949 prohibited explicit racial segregation, the board writes, "It’s a remnant of an era that California should repudiate."

Monday, March 14, 2022 in Los Angeles Times

Indian Trail, North Carolina

Four ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Zoning Reforms

An excerpt from the latest book on zoning argues for four approaches to reform that can immediately improve land use regulation in the United States.

June 26, 2022 - M. Nolan Gray

Minneapolis

Judge Blocks Minneapolis 2040 Implementation, Citing Lack of Environmental Review

Environmentalists have used the power of the legal system to protect the car-centric status quo of single-family zoning once again, overturning a landmark planning innovation in Minneapolis.

June 21, 2022 - MPR News

1984 Olympics

L.A. Seeking Funding for New Transit Projects Prior to the 2028 Summer Olympics

Los Angeles officials have been working for years to deliver a suite of transit projects in time for the 2028 Olympics. Planners now hope federal infrastructure funding could reinvigorate the effort.

June 20, 2022 - Los Angeles Times

Car Traffic

San Francisco Just Ended Single-Family Zoning

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to Tuesday to eliminate single-family zoning, but pro-development advocates say additional changes are needed to unleash a wave of construction.

5 minutes ago - San Francisco Chronicle

A map showing the city of mesquite with surrounding freeways, roads, and cities.

Dallas-Area City Wants to Increase Minimum Home Size to 2,000 Square Feet

While some cities are finding ways to add density and use zoning as a tool for affordability, Mesquite, Texas is headed the other direction.

1 hour ago - The Dallas Morning News

Raleigh

Raleigh Experiencing Dramatic Growth

The North Carolina capital is reinventing itself as a research and tech hub, attracting major employers and investment along the way.

2 hours ago - Commercial Observer

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.