California

Poverty is Worse than Sprawl: California's Housing Affordability Crisis

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Rent control supporters in California recently announced that they have enough signatures to qualify a state proposition to remove limitations on municipalities to control rents. Their purpose is to improve housing affordability in the nation’s most unaffordable state. However, should the proposition pass, the net effect is likely to be less new rental housing, as investors are likely to flee the market, as they routinely have before.  read more »

California Not The Model For America It Thinks It Is

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In the past, wrote historian Kevin Starr, California “was a final frontier: of geography and of expectation.” Today in the Trump era, California remains a frontier, but increasingly one that appeals largely to progressives. “California,” recently suggested progressive journalists Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira, “today provides a model for America as a whole.”  read more »

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop.  read more »

The High Speed Rail 2018 Business Plan – A Classic Model Of Deception

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The California High Speed Rail Authority has released its 2018 Business Plan. It portends to finally reveal the true cost for construction of Phase I of the project. The new cost estimate is at a base of $77.3 billion to a possible $98.1 billion dollars. Completion of Phase I is now projected for year 2032. Please remember the old promise to the voters was the project would be running by 2020 and the cost to California voters would be $10 billion (the rest of the $32 billions needed to build Phase I would come from Federal and private sources).  read more »

Deconstructing “Yimbyism”

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California’s housing crisis has emboldened grandstanding Sacramento politicians who measure their own “success” by the number of bills they can pass with their own names attached.

We now have Scott Wiener’s SB827, a bill which would use “mass transit” (defined as four buses an hour during rush hour) to eliminate local governments’ ability to zone single-family housing and to replace locally crafted General Plans with increased density levels dictated by Sacramento politicians.  read more »

Southern California’s Growing Demographic Dilemma

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For much of the past century, Southern California has been driven by ever increasing population growth. That area has now ended as the region’s demographics stagnate, a trend that, according to the latest Census numbers, is, if anything, accelerating.  read more »

Orange County Focus: Forging Our Common Future

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How can Orange County become a better place to live for all of its residents? Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky explore the challenges and solutions in Orange County Focus: Forging Our Common Future, a research brief from Chapman University's Center for Demographics and Policy. Read an excerpt from the report below:  read more »

Southern California Needs A Better Marketing Strategy

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"Southern California is man-made, a gigantic improvisation” — Carey McWilliams, Southern California: An Island on the Land, 1946

Largely invented, a semi-desert far from the metropolitan heartland of the nation, Southern California has relied on a combination of engineering genius and marketing bravado. The constructed infrastructure has become creaky, but still functions. Not so our sense of marketing our region to the rest of the world — and ourselves.  read more »

California's Dense Suburbs and Urbanization

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Many observers think California urban areas are more geographically expansive ("lower density" or to use the pejorative term, more "sprawling") then those elsewhere in the nation, especially the Northeast Corridor, which runs from the Washington DC metropolitan area through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Providence to Boston. This obsolete view is a leftover from the pre-automobile city of more than a century ago, when the largest American cities (metropolitan areas) had far higher urban densities, smaller suburban expenses, and no cars.  read more »

California’s Housing Crisis and the Density Delusion

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Once seen as a human-scale alternative to the crowded cities of the past, California’s cities are targeted by policy makers and planners dreaming of bringing back the “good old days,” circa 1900, when most people in the largest cities lived in small, cramped apartments. This move is being fronted by well-funded YIMBYs (“yes in my backyard”), who claim ever greater densification will help relieve the state’s severe housing crisis.  read more »