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The Homework

The HomeWork is the official newsletter of California YIMBY — legislative updates, news clips, housing research and analysis, and the latest writings from the California YIMBY team.

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Paying the Ultimate Price for Housing: The Case for Affordability

Housing has long been studied as a social determinant of health, but past studies have mostly looked at housing quality (for example, lead paint, indoor air pollution) and neighborhood effects (such as segregation) – with less attention paid to rent…

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Smaller Lots, Smaller Prices: Evidence from Houston

In recent years, pro-housing reformers around the country have successfully changed state and local land use policies to allow greater density on residential lots zoned exclusively for one house. Most of these efforts have focused on adjusting regulations such as…

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Movin’ On Up: How Costly New Homes Create Affordable Old Homes

In housing policy, a common theory of how to provide the maximum number of affordable homes to the greatest number of people is known as “filtering:” the process through which aging homes depreciate, and become less costly as higher-income residents…

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Sharpening the Pencil: How Smart Policy Can Reduce the High Cost of Homebuilding

How much does it cost to build new housing? And are these costs aligned with what the market will bear for rents, or broad goals of housing affordability?  In the world of housing contractors and developers, the term for a…

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How a Boom in Market-Rate Housing Would Help Section 8 Tenants

The United States largely abandoned building new public (i.e., publicly-owned and operated) housing in the 1970s, replacing it with the Housing Choice Voucher program to provide low-income families with federally-funded rent subsidies for use in privately-owned buildings. Colloquially known as…

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How an Oil Spill Backlash Caused High Housing Prices – and More Oil Consumption

Following a catastrophic oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, in 1972, California voters passed Proposition 20, the “Save Our Coast” ballot initiative. The initiative rode a wave of voter anger over the horrific damage done by…

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FAR Away from Home

In addition to the use of zoning regulations to control the location, density, and types of housing, many jurisdictions use similar regulatory tools to limit the total floor space a building can have. These limits, which typically take the form…

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Exclusionary By Design: The History of Zoning in Boston Suburbs

While popular scholarship has extensively documented the racially exclusionary effects of low density and single family zoning, particularly in its earliest forms, there is less agreement on whether it was adopted for the explicit purpose of segregating by race and…

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By-Right Approvals: The Better Part of Housing Valor

Most housing and commercial developments in California cities go through a series of reviews by various government bodies before they are approved for construction, or “entitled” – and those processes differ dramatically.  In many cases, projects are approved “by right”…

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Lot Sizes: When the Bare Minimum is Way Too Much

Minimum lot size requirements are a common tool used by cities across the United States to ensure that homes are not built on parcels that are deemed aesthetically “too small” for housing. Available evidence suggests that these requirements also drive…

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