LOS ANGELES—At a recent Urban Land Institute breakfast market experts Wendell Cox, principal of public policy consulting at Demographia and Dowell Myers, professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at University of Southern California, went head to head about housing affordability and demographic trends. The contrarian viewpoints looked at urban sprawl as either the enemy or the answer to affordability and density issues. In the end, however, both parties agreed that L.A. needs more multifamily development.

Cox took the position that smart growth or urban containment was the cause of affordability issues. He explained that Los Angeles in the most dense city in the country, with some suburbs that are twice as dense as suburbs of New York City. For this reason, sprawl, according to Cox is a myth in Los Angeles. His solution is to develop more multifamily housing on the urban fringe to spread the densities and increase the urban sprawl.

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