Jumpstarting the market for accessory dwelling units

How did Portland, Oregon, go from permitting two accessory dwelling units (ADUs) per month in 2009 to almost two per day in 2016?  Now, more than one of every 10 housing units built in Portland is an ADU.   ADU permitting explodes: Permits as a share of all residential permits. Compared to other housing types, ADUs, or separate small dwellings…

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Does transit investment displace households and lead to more driving? Yes and no

The passage of Senate Bill 375 in 2008 ushered in a new era of regional sustainability planning in California. Now, regions must coordinate their transportation planning and investment with land use strategies that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what if the hundreds of new fixed-rail stations recently built or planned for California’s major metros, along with related “transit-oriented development,” inadvertently displace…

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California’s tax code impedes its progress on climate change

The California Legislature is renowned for its courage in adopting bold climate and clean-energy initiatives that influence environmental policy around the globe. But it has hesitated to reform the state’s tax code, costing the state an opportunity to better support its climate goals. Current tax policies encourage sprawl, increasing vehicle miles driven and threatening the goals to reduce greenhouse gas…

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A multi-dimensional approach to affordable housing policy: Learning from climate change policy

We are not building enough of the the so-called Missing Middle in housing types, like these fourplexes in Berkeley. A consensus is emerging that we have to do everything in our power to slow the course of global warming. The list of tools includes long-term measures such as greater energy efficiencies in buildings, industry, appliances; carbon cap-and-trade systems and taxes; new standards for…

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Transit-Averse Development? The Challenges of Infill

Like merchants on Geary Street concerned about the effects of new bus rapid transit on their businesses, many fear the change that a new transit line or station will bring to a neighborhood. To analyze this, our Urban Displacement Project has examined the relationship between transit investment and displacement, finding that these fears may not be unfounded: new transit can…

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Mission Accomplished? Revisiting the Solutions

Last week, San Francisco voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have halted market-rate development in the Mission District. The proposed moratorium highlighted schisms in the community around the best way to slow the displacement that has made the Mission the gentrification poster child of the Bay Area. One side of the debate reflects traditional economic theory:  increasing housing supply should…

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Redwood City: An Improbable Villain of the Bay Area Displacement Crisis

“Evicted Redwood City tenants rally to stay in complex as calls grow for renter protections” announces the headline, with a photo of 14-year-old Gabriel Banuelos holding the eviction notice for the 18-unit apartment complex. But why would this happen in “Deadwood” City (the long-standing local nickname for the moribund downtown area)? As findings from our Urban Displacement Project show, a…

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Displacement: The Misunderstood Crisis

When we think of gentrification and displacement, we typically envision a hipster – young, professional, and probably white — in the Mission District or Brooklyn at the peak of the real estate boom. But this archetype, while not inaccurate, is just the tip of the iceberg. Displacement, which is distinct from gentrification, occurs in many different forms, places, and moments.…

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The Future of Displacement

The year is 2030. Protesters gather around yet another apartment building where long-term residents are being evicted to accommodate newcomers. We must be in San Francisco. No, we’re in Oakland. Guess again. It’s Hayward. Or, Concord. Or perhaps, Santa Rosa. In 2030, these and many other Bay Area communities may realize that their neighborhood has turned the corner from displacement…

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Possibilities for a Sustainable, Equitable Planet

How should we consume the planet’s resources, who should bear the costs, and how, as a society, should we make these decisions? On March 5, 2015, theInstitute for Urban & Regional Development (IURD) and theInstitute for Research on Labor & Employment (IRLE) jointly sponsored a conference,“Reducing Inequality in a Sustainable World.” A highlight of the day was a panel of…

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