VIDEO: Why Housing Policy is Climate Policy

October 13, 2021
An illustration of a woman sitting in traffic

“The climate crisis is getting worse because of the housing crisis”

California’s housing shortage and affordability crisis is increasing the pollution that causes climate change, exacerbating the risk of deadly and destructive wildfires while simultaneously forcing more Californians to live in harms’ way. According to climate scientists, the number one thing coastal California cities can do to address climate change is to legalize infill, multi-family housing near jobs, schools, and transit.

For decades, planners and climate experts have known that sprawl-style, single-unit housing development leads to more pollution from cars. The reason is simple: Single-unit houses require more land than multi-family homes, and end up forcing their residents into ever-longer car commutes. The more people have to drive, the more climate pollution they cause.

In addition, low-density development also makes it harder to reduce climate pollution from buildings — because single-unit homes use more energy than multi-family homes.

Since our inception, California YIMBY has been exploring the nexus of housing policy and climate policy with a series of research briefs and blog posts:

In this new video, the latest installment in our “Housing Explainer” series, we explore the connection between housing policy and climate policy — and show that infill housing is the crux of California’s efforts to achieve its ambitious climate targets.

To learn more about the connection between housing and climate change, please visit the following resources: