13 votes

Build Build Build: When California’s housing crisis slammed into Lafayette, city manager Steve Falk became a convert to a radically simple doctrine

7 comments

  1. [5]
    MimicSquid
    Link
    We absolutely need more housing, but people will go to insane lengths to stop it. In places like Lafayette, it's endless debates. In nearby Oakland, apartment buildings under construction get torched.

    We absolutely need more housing, but people will go to insane lengths to stop it. In places like Lafayette, it's endless debates. In nearby Oakland, apartment buildings under construction get torched.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      Part of the issue is that we currently have an economic setup where a large portion of an individuals net worth is invested in their home, making people very hostile to anything that may decrease...

      Part of the issue is that we currently have an economic setup where a large portion of an individuals net worth is invested in their home, making people very hostile to anything that may decrease the value of said home (low income housing being one). If so much of someone’s estate wasn’t tied up in the value of their home, perhaps we’d see less opposition.

      Obviously this isn’t the only factor at play but it beats mentioning.

      12 votes
      1. Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        It's something of an oddity too, which I first learned about in an article comparing US housing prices to other countries. In some other countries (Japan?), it is the expected norm that the value...

        It's something of an oddity too, which I first learned about in an article comparing US housing prices to other countries. In some other countries (Japan?), it is the expected norm that the value of a house will decrease over time, not increase.

        In the US it is expected to increase. Everyone views their house as an investment, and anything that negatively affects it's value will be fight against, which is entirely rational. If we build to many housing units, demand drops and everyone's property value drops. This is why no local government will be able to solve this without state or federal regulation. Any town or city that tried to would be met with strong opposition from the part of the community that doesn't want to see their property value drop.

        7 votes
    2. [2]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      It's more than just needing housing. There's actually a glut of housing in Los Angeles. The problem is that it's luxury housing that many cannot afford. There are lofts sitting empty for years...

      It's more than just needing housing. There's actually a glut of housing in Los Angeles. The problem is that it's luxury housing that many cannot afford. There are lofts sitting empty for years downtown.

      I do think it's changing, though. For example, I can think of 4 new apartment buildings that either just opened up or are about to on a 1 mile stretch of La Tijera Blvd. I already have housing, so haven't priced them, but they look like relatively normal apartments. (Well one of them looks "luxury", but the other 3 look more normal.) It's not low-income housing by any means, but hopefully is within reach of more people than luxury lofts downtown.

      2 votes
      1. aethicglass
        Link Parent
        There are a ton of new apartment buildings popping up in the valley. It's largely due to subsidies to housing projects within a certain distance of mass transit lines. The massive downside to this...

        There are a ton of new apartment buildings popping up in the valley. It's largely due to subsidies to housing projects within a certain distance of mass transit lines. The massive downside to this is that 1) they're mostly "luxury" apartments in that they're modern construction and cost more than typical valley folks can afford 2) because of the same proximity to mass transit, they aren't required to put in as much parking as would be reasonable. So what happens is that in order to afford the places, people have to share units. And even if you do use mass transit in LA, you more than likely still need a car. So not only is parking becoming much more of a problem in the vicinity of these new apartments, road infrastructure is getting worse and worse without alleviation in sight.

        That said, I'm largely in favor of the new developments because I personally feel like the housing bubble will pop catastrophically at some point and those places will become a reasonable value. But it also feels a bit like kicking the can down the road. These developments are not solutions to the problems of now, they're eventual solutions to one facet without any mindfulness of consequences in the interim. And while I don't know the developers personally, I've talked to a few different people peripherally involved and am pretty convinced that the developments are not evolved with the plan of resolving issues, but with the single intention of making significantly more profit due to the subsidies involved.

        Basically, people voted in the measure to provide funding to low income housing projects along the mass transit lines as a method to alleviate potential homelessness. Somewhere along the lines, someone managed to warp the legislation to include $2000 studio apartments as being "low income". So for the time being, the massive number of new apartment complexes do not solve a single thing about homelessness and only manage to add more and more traffic to the areas they're plopped down in.

        This will all likely balance out in the long run, but I don't think it'll get better until it gets quite a worse first.

        3 votes
  2. [2]
    jmillikin
    Link
    Anti-paywall archive: http://archive.is/39Yh4

    Anti-paywall archive: http://archive.is/39Yh4

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Firefox reader mode gets past it too.

      Firefox reader mode gets past it too.

      4 votes