Upzoning Alone Won’t Solve Housing Crisis, Manville Says

Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville was featured in a Marin Independent Journal article about new design standards for housing in Marin, California. County planning officials will soon unveil the standards, which are intended to preserve the look of the area while complying with state laws mandating denser housing. While changing zoning requirements to allow more units per acre would increase the number of housing units in the county, newly built units would not necessarily be affordable for people with low incomes. “It’s never been the case that you would expect new construction to be affordable to very low income people,” Manville said. The two ways to create affordable housing are through subsidies or by “building housing and letting it get very old,” he explained. While any increase in housing supply in high-demand areas should lower prices across the board, upzoning alone won’t solve the housing crisis, he said. “But you can’t not do it.”

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