Is Public Land the Key to Solving D.C.'s Affordability Crisis?

A new report argues that city-owned lands must be leveraged to increase D.C.'s stock of affordable housing, and indicts Mayor Gray's administration for not doing enough to keep up with increasing demand.
October 13, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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A new report [PDF] from the Coalition for Smarter Growth argues that the vacant lots, aging schools, federal property, and other facilities acquired by the District of Columbia in the decades following the destructive 1968 riots should be put to use in service of providing affordable housing, as post-recession development increases.

According to John Muller, "[t]he report details where and how the District can make better use of its ownership leverage to increase affordable housing opportunities on public land. Where previous mayors made strong commitments to affordable units in development projects on city land, Mayor Gray's administration has been more lax."

"Our public lands are so valuable, and we're concerned the city is not going to deliver the affordability that it's achieved in the past," says Cheryl Cort, Policy Director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth. "We urge the Mayor and the Housing Task Force to recommit to leveraging city-owned land to create a substantial amount of affordable housing, including at deeply affordable levels."

"DC has a shortage of affordable housing," says Muller, "but it has no shortage of public land. The District needs to use this land to guarantee more affordable housing so that we can remain an economically diverse city."


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Published on Friday, October 12, 2012 in Greater Greater Washington
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