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image of tent encampment outside a new building construction in Hollywood

Monkkonen on Southern California’s Task to Build 1.3 Million New Homes

Paavo Monkkonen, associate professor of urban planning and public policy, spoke to LAist about Southern California’s commitment to plan 1.3 million new homes by 2029. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) originally planned to concentrate housing in the Inland Empire rather than in wealthy, coastal communities. Monkkonen said the original methodology, which relied on population projections, rewarded cities that have historically resisted new housing. Without new construction, a city’s population cannot grow; as a result, restrictive zoning in the past led to less zoning for homes in the future. “Cities that don’t want housing were able to project very low growth and get a very low housing number,” Monkkonen said. SCAG ultimately adopted an alternative plan that places more homes near major job centers and transit lines. The state’s housing department will review the plan, which will be finalized next year.


 

Monkkonen on Plan to Zone for 1.3 Million Homes

Paavo Monkkonen, associate professor of urban planning and public policy, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about a state requirement that Southern California cities and counties plan for the construction of 1.3 million new homes in the next decade. The Southern California Association of Governments — which had proposed zoning for just 430,000 new homes during that period — must now determine how to fulfill the commitment in neighborhoods across Los Angeles, Orange, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Monkkonen argued for new housing in places where the demand is highest, such as Los Angeles’ Westside and other areas with strong job growth. To do otherwise would be “a travesty of planning,” especially given recent efforts to increase penalties on local governments that do not comply. Monkkonen said it’s unclear whether the law, which requires zoning for new housing but does not guarantee that the construction will take place, will have a significant effect on the region’s housing shortage.

Monkkonen Critiques California Governor-Elect’s Ambitious Housing Proposal

California governor-elect Gavin Newsom’s plan to solve California’s housing crisis were critiqued by Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy Paavo Monkkonen in a recent article on Curbed. Newsom and Monkkonen agree that California’s current housing crisis is the result of “an underwhelming amount of housing production … contributing to escalating rents and home prices,” but they disagree on the approach to a solution. Monkokken argues that while Newsom’s proposed construction of 3.5 million new housing units by 2025 sounds appealing, “it’s harder to figure out how to actually make that work.” Newsom’s plan would require an unprecedented construction boom and matching investment in infrastructure; Monkkonen points out the “restrictive zoning requirements” as a significant obstacle “that make dense housing extremely difficult to construct.” He concludes that the priority should be “[finding] a way to ensure housing construction keeps pace with demand” instead of Newsom’s focus on “[reaching] a specific number of units.”