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UCCS Housing, Land Use, and Development Public Lecture: Understanding and Challenging Opposition to Housing Construction in California's Urban Areas

Speaker - Paavo Monkkonen, UC Los Angeles; Moderator - Ben Metcalf, Director of CA Dept. of Housing & Community Development

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Dec 01, 2016
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM


1130 K Street, Room LL3

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In the intense public debate over how to make housing affordable, the role of new supply is a key point of contention. Despite a robust body of empirical evidence demonstrating that artificial supply constraints—zoning restrictions—are a core cause of increasing housing costs, many California residents resist new housing development in their own neighborhoods. This paper seeks to provide essential background for understanding the economics of housing markets, the motivations of opponents to new housing and higher density in California’s cities and what might be done to overcome this opposition.

First, I highlight how the complexity of housing markets leads to debate about the role of new supply in housing affordability. I then discuss the varied motivations of those that oppose more intensive land use in their neighborhood, grouping them into three types but focusing mostly on the idea of preserving neighborhood character as the least clear motivation but most important for reformers to understand. I attempt to categorize the various tactics for blocking development before I discuss proposals that have potential to reshape the discussion and conclude by arguing that the state should take action in at least three ways – enforce and strengthen existing laws, push planning agencies to represent more people more equally, and develop ways to make decisions at a larger geographic scale.

Paavo Monkkonen is Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He researches and writes on the ways policies and markets shape urban development and social segregation in cities around the world. Paavo’s scholarship includes studies of large-scale housing finance programs as well as topics such as land use regulations and the property rights institutions often not recognized as housing policy. His comparative research on socioeconomic segregation and land markets spans several countries including Argentina, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and the United States. He continues to works as a consultant on national housing and urban policy in Mexico, where he has various longstanding research projects.

His research has been published in multiple journals. In recent years, Paavo has received research funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Regional Studies Association, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the UCLA Ziman Center, the UCLA Asia Institute, the Global Development Network, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the University Grants Council of Hong Kong.



Housing Public Lecture video. 



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