StopBtownUpzoning Virtual Library

Densification advocates in Bloomington often claim the evidence surrounding the impact of zoning policy on housing affordability, climate change and racial justice is all on their side. It isn’t.


Housing Affordability

‘Build More Housing’ Is No Match for Inequality
A new analysis finds that liberalizing zoning rules and building more won’t solve the urban affordability crisis, and could exacerbate it.
Bloomberg CityLab

Two new studies challenge notion that upzoning leads to more affordable housing
“The trickle-down and ‘housing-as-opportunity’ school of thought are fundamentally flawed and lead to simplistic and misguided public policy recommendations” – Michael Storper, UCLA and London School of Economics
Outside City Hall

Despite thorough debunking, neoliberal housing politics prevail in the Bay Area
Why do so many California politicians count themselves as adherents of YIMBY, a pure form of neoliberal sophistry?
Salon

So You Want to Change Zoning to Allow for More Housing
Neighborhood activists and politicians fear unforeseen impacts like displacement, big-box business growth, and a loss of landmarked buildings that rezoning or other development projects could have on communities — and they often lose the fight.
Next City

In the Short Run, Density Alone Won’t Solve Affordable Housing Crisis
This supply and demand imbalance has had a number of consequences. Not only have rent prices risen, but more people are crowding into smaller units in an attempt to cut housing costs. These problems aren’t just affecting low-income renters, but middle-income people as well.
The Century Foundation

New MIT study suggests the Yimby narrative on housing is wrong
Higher density leads to higher prices, not more affordability, a review of an upzoning experiment in Chicago shows.
48hills

A Call for Transparent Usage of Data in Public Policy-Making

It is often posited in public policy discussions in Bloomington that the city has an urgent shortage of housing. In fact, Bloomington’s population growth has been slower than city planners have often suggested, and shows signs of shifting outward to Monroe County. Analysis of available apartment occupancy data suggests the vacancy rate the city has put forward to justify its recent upzoning proposals has been understated. While Bloomington clearly needs housing affordable to lower-income buyers and renters, more general claims of an urgent housing shortage are overstated. The city’s administration needs to provide greater transparency in its generation and use of data before moving forward with its housing growth agenda.

Bloomington advocates for Sensible Growth

Social Justice / Displacement

Rise of the yimbys: the angry millennials with a radical housing solution
They see themselves as progressive housing activists. Critics call them stooges for luxury developers. Meet the new band of millennials who are priced out of cities and shouting: ‘Yes in my back yard’
The Guardian

Dropping the Hammer on YIMBYism
“Yes In My Back Yard” advocates a deregulatory, trickle-down framework for housing policy that does more harm than good. By empowering the real estate industry, which has long served as a vanguard of structural racism and segregation, YIMBY policies hasten the construction of cities only accessible to the rich.
LA Tenants Union

Here’s What We Actually Know About Market-Rate Housing Development and Displacement
For-profit new construction is overwhelmingly geared toward the luxury market. But it’s lower-income households who face the most severe affordable housing shortfalls.
ShelterForce

What’s In My Backyard?
YIMBYs look to the free market to solve the housing crisis. But the profit motive is what caused the affordability crunch in the first place.
Jacobin

YIMBYs: Friend, Foe, or Chaos Agent?
The relationship between pro-building “Yes in My Back Yard” activists, longtime housing advocates, and anti-displacement organizers varies across the country, but has often been fraught with difficulties. Is there a way forward?
ShelterForce

Systemic Inequality: Displacement, Exclusion, and Segregation
American lawmakers have long sought to secure land for, reduce barriers to, and expand the wealth-building capacity of property ownership and affordable rental housing. But these efforts have almost exclusively benefited white households.
Center for American Progress


Housing Financialization

How Housing Wealth Transferred From Families to Corporations
The Great Housing Reset has led to growing numbers of single-family homes shifting from owner-occupied housing to investment vehicles for large corporations.
Bloomberg CityLab

Families see a looming catastrophe. Private equity firms see dollar signs.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that investors are ‘preparing for what they believe could be a once-in-a generation opportunity to buy distressed real-estate assets at bargain prices.’ This profiteering is…straight out of private equity’s playbook.
Elizabeth Warren – Washington Post

Real-Estate Investors Eye Potential Bonanza in Distressed Sales
Coronavirus causes widespread stress in property assets.
Wall Street Journal

A Shocking New Look at the 2008 Housing Crisis
Aaron Glantz’s book, “Homewreckers,” takes a shocking new look at America’s housing crisis. Glantz pulls back the curtain on Wall Street magnates who he says took advantage of a rigged system. These “homewreckers” include key members of President Trump’s inner circle.
Amanpour & Co.

Unmasking the secret landlords buying up America
America’s cities are being bought up, by anonymous shell companies using piles of cash. Modest single-family homes, owned for generations by families, now are held by corporate vehicles registered to law offices and post office boxes miles away.
Reveal – Center for Investigative Reporting

Cleveland Is a House-Flipping Hot Spot, and Covid Adds Fuel
Real-estate investors are moving away from the Sunbelt to lower-price markets inland, scooping up homes to turn into rentals.
Wall Street Journal

GORD PERKS: The risks of the financialization of housing
Premier Doug Ford says weakening planning law will get more housing built and that will solve our affordable housing crisis. This appeals to people who believe that housing costs are primarily a function of supply and demand. Prices fall when supply grows. Thing is, housing economics don’t work that way and never have.
SpacingToronto



Climate Change / Sustainability

Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals
Stop obsessing with how personally green you live – and start collectively taking on corporate power.
The Guardian

Density Without Demolition
Tearing down old buildings won’t make our cities more affordable or inviting. It’s time to make better use of the buildings and spaces we already have.
Bloomberg CityLab

Can Historic Preservation Cool Down a Hot Neighborhood?
The new plan to landmark Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood aims to protect more than just buildings: It’s designed to curb gentrification.
Bloomberg CityLab

Effects of Teardowns
Teardowns can cause more waste than conventional demolitions because, in many cases, they carry a tighter timeline, so most materials are hastily discarded, whether recyclable or not.
CMAP

Why the Most Environmental Building is the Building We’ve Already Built
A new report suggests that retrofitting is almost always more energy efficient.
Bloomberg CityLab

Why Historic Preservation Needs a New Approach
In hot real estate markets, we lose too many buildings because rapid investment creates conditions that lead to demolition, often as a result of the false claim that it’s the only way to add needed density.
Bloomberg CityLab

Luxury Housing Impact on Low Income Residents

Luxury Development is Making Our Housing Crisis Worse
Developers tout increased building as salve for rising rents, lining their pockets while driving cycles of displacement.  This unquestioning reliance on new construction – a code phrase used by developers to signify for-profit building – is deeply flawed.
Inequality.org

The Role Student Housing Plays in Communities Given the structure of the real estate market, contemporary American cities face a paradox— at the moment when universities and colleges ascend as cities’ paramount anchor institutions, their ability to have a corrosive effect on their neighbors is also climbing. ShelterForce

How to Be a Housing Ally (Or, Why I’m Not a YIMBY)
As affordable housing allies, we need to work for housing and regulations that directly benefit everyday people and communities — not just fall back on an approach that gives more profit to development with the hope that it will trickle down to residents.
Erin Reeves – Medium

Supersized cities: residents band together to push back against speculative development pressures
Speculative property development is a high-risk business, so high profit margins are needed to offset the risk. What such calculations do not consider is how this approach can fundamentally alter the culture and character of urban environments, displace long-standing residences and local businesses, and tear apart community bonds.
The Conversation

If the Tuition Doesn’t Get You, the Cost of Student Housing Will
National developers are behind the proliferation of luxury student housing on college campuses, and they’re driving low-income students further away.
typeinvestigations

What YIMBYs Get Wrong About Housing
Zoning laws should be enforced against turning apartments and houses into short-term hotels. The YIMBYs’ rejoinder is that cities should build more housing. But who is going to support more housing if it is built only for tourists who can pay $200 to $300 a night?
Governing


This is just the tip of the iceberg. More citations will be added as new critiques are published.

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