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The density delusion

Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox recently published a piece in the Orange County Register called, “California’s housing crisis and the density delusion.” I’m sure you can guess where this is going, even if you don’t follow the work of Joel Kotkin. But if you do, you will know that he is an ardent supporter of suburbia and the single-family home.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

In reality, the YIMBY’s suggestion that new, dense housing will improve affordability for all is patently absurd. Decades of densification in Los Angeles has seen ever higher rents, displacing low-income, especially minority households. Many former transit customers have been driven to lower-rent areas with less transit service, precipitating a massive decline in ridership, even as billions continue to be spent building new rail lines. The Wiener Bill [my link, not theirs] could exacerbate this trend, and likely increase the need for low-income housing, already well beyond the capability of public coffers.

I fully appreciate the argument that high-density housing isn’t for everyone and that we shouldn’t be “forcing everyone back to the ‘glory’ days of the city of tenements.” But I disagree with many of their points, including the argument that density doesn’t encourage transit ridership. Density isn’t everything, but it’s an important something.

The article is definitely worth a read, particularly if you disagree with their positions. That’s how you avoid confirmation bias. I was trying to keep that in mind as I read it. Maybe it worked.

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