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Op-Ed: Democrats must figure out how to address Blue America’s housing crisis

Op-Ed: Democrats must figure out how to address Blue America’s housing crisis

Washington Post columnist Charles Lane reflects on the need for ambitious housing solutions in cities throughout Blue America.

To cut a long story short, blue American cities and counties need new rental housing, but local zoning, building codes, approval processes and other regulations — the whole legal infrastructure that keeps West L.A. neighborhoods neat, green and oh-so-pleasant — hinder construction.

That web of rules has accrued over decades: In 1960, Los Angeles had 2.5 million people and enough zoned real estate to accommodate housing for 10 million. By 2010, population had grown by 60 percent, to 4 million, but authorities had reduced the city’s maximum zoned residential capacity by 57 percent, to 4.3 million.

A study published in February by UCLA researchers found that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal of 3.5 million new homes statewide by 2025 cannot be met, because no more than 2.8 million could be built under current zoning laws.

Read more here.

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