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Manville on Lag in Building Affordable Housing

Michael Manville, associate professor of urban planning, spoke to Courthouse News about the lag in building affordable housing in California cities despite the availability of hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding. An expensive and time-consuming process requires cities to meet several criteria in a stiff competition for state and federal funding. Many cities must make strategic policy changes if they really want to tackle their housing crises, Manville said. “If housing prices are high and no one is coming to you with a proposal, you are probably sending the message that you are not accommodating to development,” he said. Another challenge is the limited land available for traditional public housing. Senate Bill 9 — which among other things allows homeowners to turn their single-family parcels into multiple units — was a good start, Manville said, but officials should also free up land to accommodate larger complexes with denser housing.


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