Commentary: San Antonio Needs ‘Thoughtful Reforms’ to Improve Affordability

The growing Texas city needs a new approach to meet its residents’ housing and mobility needs.

1 minute read

February 29, 2024, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of downtown San Antonio, Texas.

Downtown San Antonio, Texas. | Reagan / Adobe Stock

Writing in the San Antonio Report, Ron Nirenberg calls for a new pattern of development in San Antonio. “San Antonio will continue to experience population growth, and housing shortages do not have to be a recurring feature in our housing ecosystem. There are solutions to increase housing availability and address the affordability challenge through thoughtful reforms that will appropriately ease regulations to encourage denser residential housing to accommodate future growth.”

Improving housing affordability, for Nirenberg, “requires a shift in how we approach new development, especially along major roads connecting to our 13 regional employment centers.” Nirenberg points to a policy legalizing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as one such successful reform and recommends zoning for transit-oriented development along the planned Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) line as another way to boost the housing supply near transportation options. 

“Transit-oriented development initiatives that match regulatory flexibility with market demand will allow the introduction of additional, convenient housing types, such as townhouses, brownstones, and zero-lot line builds that will serve to ease pressure on our housing supply and affordability while boosting walkability and connectivity to new and old destinations alike.”

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