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Supply-side toolkit for greater housing affordability


McKinsey Global Institute just published a “supply-side toolkit” for cities struggling with housing affordability. This seems to be every successful city.

The article includes a long list of potential tools. Some of them you may agree with. And others you may disagree with. But I am sure that many of them will be familiar to you. One of the tools in the toolkit is accessory dwelling units.

Of course, the overarching theme is that housing supply has not and is not keeping pace with housing demand:

California, for instance, added 544,000 households but only 467,000 net housing units from 2009 to 2014. Its cumulative housing shortfall has expanded to two million units.

Another one of the tools in the toolkit is “overcoming NIMBYism.” Here is an excerpt:

People who come to a city to work need to be able to find an affordable place to live there. But the voices of existing homeowners who want to preserve the status quo often drown out those of newcomers, young adults, low-income service workers, and renters who need more housing. After a 2009 audit found that neighborhood councils were not representative of the city’s broader population, Seattle replaced these bodies with a central Community Involvement Commission that includes mayoral and council appointees chosen to represent a broader set of stakeholders.

I am intrigued by Seattle’s move to create a central body and a new approach to public engagement – one that moves away from local district-councils. However, it appears that this Community Involvement Commission is still very much in its infancy.

If any of you are familiar with the Seattle market, I would be curious to hear your thoughts on it in the comment section below. I am, however, going to spend some time reading up on it.

For the full toolkit, click here.

Photo by Sarah Brink on Unsplash

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