Why Climate Change Fizzled as a Rationale for Upzoning

By Peter Dorfman In the fall of 2019, when Bloomington’s Plan Commission and City Council debated an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to push multiplex housing into single-family zoned core neighborhoods, plex proponents based their case on three principal arguments: Housing affordability — The suggestion that new housing, at whatever rental price point,Continue reading “Why Climate Change Fizzled as a Rationale for Upzoning”

Who Benefits from Upzoning? On Housing Affordability and Equity

By Russell Skiba, PhD In its rollout of the UDO amendment proposal in October, Bloomington’s Planning & Transportation Department claimed that upzoning to allow plexes throughout the city, but especially in core neighborhoods, would help meet the Comprehensive Plan’s goals of “equitable access to housing” and growth in the city’s inventory of affordable housing.  SuchContinue reading “Who Benefits from Upzoning? On Housing Affordability and Equity”

League of Women Voters Urges the City to Slow Its Roll on Upzoning

At the end of 2020, the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County wrote to Mayor John Hamilton, the Common Council, and the Plan Commission urging a slower, more transparent, thoughtful, and considered process in evaluating the proposal of plexes in core neighborhoods. Ann Birch, president of the League, called on the administration to involveContinue reading “League of Women Voters Urges the City to Slow Its Roll on Upzoning”

Let’s Talk About ‘NIMBY’

By Peter Dorfman When are supporters and opponents of Bloomington’s proposal to upzone neighborhoods going to stop talking past one another? An important first step will be for those engaged in the conversation to start seeing each other as individuals instead of dismissing the people they disagree with as abstract, opaque memes.  This will getContinue reading “Let’s Talk About ‘NIMBY’”

Five Straw Man Arguments from Pro-Density Partisans

By Peter Dorfman Astraw man argument is a common form of logical fallacy that crops up in political discourse with depressing regularity. The way it works is this: Person A takes a position or makes a claim. Person B creates a distorted version of the claim (the “straw man”), and then Person B attacks thisContinue reading “Five Straw Man Arguments from Pro-Density Partisans”

The Rise of the WIMBYs

By Jean Simonian The so-called Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) movement casts increased housing density and the elimination of single family zoning in up-beat, buzzy terms like “saving the planet,” creating a world of “social equity,” and “affordable housing” for all. YIMBY, of course, is a wry twist on Not in My Backyard (NIMBY), aContinue reading “The Rise of the WIMBYs”

About Those Postcards…

By Peter Dorfman Last fall, a lot of us received an educational postcard alerting us to proposed zoning changes in the core neighborhoods. Members of Bloomington’s City Council sharply criticized that postcard, and attacked the Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) for distributing it. Council members especially hated two of the card’s contentions: First, that propertyContinue reading “About Those Postcards…”

Bloomington’s Zoning History Offers a Lesson for Today

By Chris Sturbaum Bloomingtonians often tout the city’s exceptional commitment to progressive values and social justice – so much so that we often forget where we are and how recently those values evolved here. We’re in southern Indiana, and like most of the surrounding municipalities, even Bloomington has a long, shady history with respect toContinue reading “Bloomington’s Zoning History Offers a Lesson for Today”

Does Bloomington’s Upzoning Push Mirror Democratic Party Ideology?

By Peter Dorfman From the beginning of the 2019 push to urbanize Bloomington’s core neighborhoods via amendment of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), advocates for multi-plex rental housing have argued that the national Democratic Party backs them up in their push for densification. They haven’t abandoned that claim in 2020. The city’s planning staff haveContinue reading “Does Bloomington’s Upzoning Push Mirror Democratic Party Ideology?”

Two Houses: A Thanksgiving Reflection

By Jean Simonian I like houses.  I like everything about planning, building, styling and living in houses.  Pre-COVID, when life seemed normal, I liked going to Open Houses – just to look.  I used to spend hours as a child building entire neighborhoods out of Legos.  I grew up in a house.  My parents, likeContinue reading “Two Houses: A Thanksgiving Reflection”