Theses Master's

Examining Affordable Housing Policy Impacts on Local Development Trends in California

Baldacci, Natalie

This Professional Capstone assists Professors Moira O’Neill and Eric Biber in their Comprehensive Assessment of Land Use Entitlements Study (CALES) to answer questions about whether and how land use regulation shapes housing development patterns in California, with a particular focus on affordable housing development, in high-cost areas. The lack of affordable housing is one of California’s most pressing planning issues. Since the 1970s, California’s state housing framework, the Housing Element, has addressed housing shortage issues by requiring local governments to accommodate their fair share of regionally needed housing. However, these efforts have historically failed as 97% of local governments have never met their production requirements every housing cycle. Recently, the California Legislature passed two packages of bills, the 2017/2018 Housing Package, to address ongoing housing shortage and systematic issues of the Housing Element. Notably, this package aims to hold jurisdictions accountable for non-compliance and accelerate residential development, specifically affordable housing production. This Professional Capstone Project explores trends in changes to local law that regulates planning in response to these recent state legislative reforms. To date, the CALES team has completed research and analysis of land use regulation and collected approval related data in 20 California Cities and Counties. This Professional Capstone assists this process by adding to existing planning code summaries within CALES. It also examines how recent state legislation and local ordinances potentially support increasing the affordable housing supply. This capstone then provides analysis of local changes to planning and zoning ordinances between 2018-2021 in CALES jurisdictions, finding that some jurisdictions revised the following: (1) establishing new inclusionary zoning ordinances and/or strengthening existing affordable housing policy initiatives; (2) establishing new zoning districts encouraging infill development, enacting new development standards promoting compact development, and/or loosening existing regulatory measures; (3) establishing new development approval procedures and/or revising existing approval measures that may ease barriers to residential development.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
O'Neill-Hutson, Moira K.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
November 1, 2021