The big question for planners since the outset of the pandemic has been how cities and communities will change, and what role planners will take in implementing those changes. Here are four potential ways for urban planning to respond to the crisis.
(Opinion) After devoting more than a century of planning and engineering effort to the movement and storage of cars above all other considerations, U.S. cities have suddenly, temporarily shifted priorities.
A four-month-old California housing law that applies only to 100% affordable housing near transit has dramatically changed a housing proposal in an affluent Peninsula city, though it is too soon to say if the additional two-stories will be approved.
A landmark state lawsuit will be settled if the Huntington Beach City Council approves an amended specific plan that increases housing. The lawsuit was enabled by 2017 legislation strengthening California's 50-year-old housing element law.
After a San Mateo County Superior Court judge ruled that charter cities are exempt from the Housing Accountability Act, aka the anti-NIMBY law, the state stepped in to support the appellant, a YIMBY group that launched a "Sue the Suburbs" campaign.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed his first budget, the state's largest ever at $215 billion. Housing activists will be pleased to learn that it has, to use Newsom's terms, both "carrots and sticks" to compel cities to produce more housing.
Senate Bill 50, by Scott Wiener, advanced on two fronts last week: On Wednesday, it passed easily out of its first committee with new "Minneapolis-style" amendments. On Sunday, it received a New York Times editorial endorsement.
"Jobs-rich area," a new term that targets some suburban regions, is among amendments added March 11 to Senate Bill 50, the reincarnation of Wiener's controversial SB 827 housing bill that died last year.
A new bill would grant the Housing Alliance for the Bay Area taxing authority to raise revenue in the nine-county region to find solutions to the housing crisis. Another bill would reduce the voter threshold below two-thirds for eligible taxes.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, only weeks into his new office, had warned cities that his office would hold them accountable for failing to meet their housing requirements. On Friday, he directed Attorney General Xavier Bacerra to sue Hungtinton Beach.
The lone survivor of Sen. Scott Wiener's trio of "Housing-First Policy" bills awaits a decision by Gov. Jerry Brown. Senate Bill 828, intended to increase the amount of land zoned for housing in California cities, was weakened by amendments.
Transit, affordable housing, TODs, active transportation and local governments should all come out ahead should Brown sign SB 961. The bill follows in the path of earlier legislation that created enhanced infrastructure finance districts.
Amidst fierce opposition from East Bay cities who want to control the destiny of BART parking lots in their jurisdictions, Assembly Bill 2923, which would partially preempt local land use authority, passed a critical committee last Thursday.
The revenue bonds would be funded from a millionaires' surtax, approved by voters in 2004, to pay for health programs, but not housing, for the mentally ill. Also on ballot: a $4 billion general obligation bond measure to fund housing for veterans.
Cities can't have it both ways on the housing crisis, asserts an SF Chronicle editorial. Case in point: Berkeley passes a resolution to declare homelessness a state of emergency while opposing legislation to allow BART to develop its parking lots.
The Golden State may have the nation's most severe housing crisis, but there is one area of state housing policy where it shines, becoming a model for other states that want to advance accessory dwelling units, also called granny or in-law units.
The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, unlike other renters groups, sees increased housing production as key to bringing down rents. It is enforcing the Housing Accountability Act in cities that arbitrarily deny new construction.
California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund
Two journalists discuss what led to the defeat of the SB 827, the controversial bill which garnered national attention and lots of in-state opposition from groups that one would think would support the effort to address the state's housing crisis.
AB 2923, which would allow the Bay Area Rapid Transit District to rezone their properties near stations for transit-oriented development, passed its first committee. The California chapter of APA objects to the preemption of local land use authority.
California Chapter of American Planning Association
A companion bill to the controversial SB 827, also introduced Sen. Scott Wiener (D-S.F)., could have a similar impact on housing production but hasn't gathered nearly as much attention. SB 828 makes critical changes to the state's housing supply law.