Researchers Stress Role of Subsidized Housing in Easing Affordability Crisis
23 May 2016
Dr. Miram Zuk and Professor Karen Chapple of City and Regional Planning have released new research from the University of California, Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project that stresses the need for production of both market-rate and subsidized housing, aggressive preservation of affordable units and protection for tenants to resolve the San Francisco Bay Area’s housing affordability crisis.
The brief rebuts a February 2016 report from California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office that used project data to argue that market-rate development would be the most effective way to prevent displacement of low-income households from their neighborhoods in the state’s coastal areas. “Our research suggests that both subsidized and market-rate housing development make a difference. But producing market-rate housing alone will not improve affordability for low-income households,” says Dr. Zuk.
The project’s newest brief, “Housing Production, Filtering and Displacement: Untangling the Relationship,” offers insights into the complex links between housing production, neighborhood affordability and neighborhood change/displacement.
The ongoing crisis of housing affordability in California has deepened the divide between those who believe it can be resolved by expanding the supply of market-rate housing, and those who believe that market-rate construction on its own will not meet the needs of low-income households, for whom more subsidized housing needs to be built or stabilized. These arguments over the role of market-rate versus subsidized housing have plagued strong-market cities, which are engaging in political debates at the ballot box (e.g., the “Mission Moratorium,” a ballot measure that would ban luxury units in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood) and in city hall (e.g., housing density bonus programs like New York City’s inclusionary housing plan) over the role and impact of housing development. Read more here.
These findings are the latest from the Urban Displacement Project as part of its two-year examination of gentrification and displacement, which has engaged dozens of local nonprofit organizations and regional agencies.
The project was funded by the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission and California’s Air Resources Board to determine the effect of transit and other public investments on displacement, and to search for ways to ensure future housing affordability.