The most recent Affordability Housing Policy Brief paper from UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate explores the government’s recent approach to solving the housing crisis. Transit-oriented development, density and land-use controls have been the government’s focus to solving the problem—but are they working? We sat down with Julia E. Stein, senior counsel at Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP, who co-authored the report with David P. Waite, a partner at Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP, to talk about the strategy for solving the housing crisis and the approach they believe that the government should take. Do you think that current transit oriented development program is the best approach to solve the housing crisis?

Stein: It’s only one approach. Addressing the housing crisis must necessarily include reducing regulatory barriers to develop all types of housing, including both market rate and affordable housing.   Incenting development near transit is one of several pathways being explored to address California’s housing crisis; it has the potential benefit of killing two birds with one stone by working to reduce vehicle miles traveled (and, ostensibly, greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle exhaust) by siting denser development closer to major transit stops.  Theoretically, this approach would place the densest development in neighborhoods with strong transit networks, adding both market rate and affordable housing while at the same time providing new residents with readily-accessible and lower emission transportation options.  In practice, however, limitations on TOD programs and questions about the propriety of including certain types of transit within their ambit may impact their effectiveness.  Ultimately, TOD is just one of several potential approaches needed to address the need for more housing.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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