Opinion: Housing Density Matters for Affordability and the Climate
D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), Virginia State Del. Ibraheem Samirah (D-86), and Maryland State Del. Vaughn Stewart (D-19) pen an op-ed in favor of housing density.
A ban on apartments in significant sections of cities and towns plays a key role in our shortage of affordable, accessible places for people to live. Right now, for example, it’s illegal to build a three- or four-unit building on 75 percent of residential lots in the District. This dominance of single-family zoning at the local level has resulted in close to a century of housing development that favors either detached, single-family houses or large, mid-to-high-rise multifamily buildings. What’s left missing from the resulting housing market is what’s known as “middle housing” — duplexes, triplexes, townhouses and so-called accessory dwelling units. These middle housing types are, on average, more affordable than both single-family homes and high-rise multifamily buildings.
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