Attack on the Suburbs: California Senate Republican Caucus Report

Differing views on the future of California urban areas are the subject of a California Senate Republican Caucus report (Briefing Report: Attack On The Suburbs: SB 375 And Its Effects On The Housing Market).

The report details differing views on the future of California urban areas as described by University of Utah Professor Arthur C. Nelson in a report for the Urban Land Institute with those of authors Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox in recent editions of The Wall Street Journal.

Nelson's view is largely that the market for detached housing in California is in decline. Senate Bill 375's planning mandates are being interpreted to virtually ban further construction of detached housing in the state's metropolitan areas.

However, if Nelson's analysis were right, there would be no need for legislative intervention since people would not buy detached housing. In fact, however, the demand for detached housing remains strong. Between 2000 and 2010, detached housing accounted for 80 percent of new housing additions in California's major metropolitan areas.

Critics of Senate Bill 375 market interventions that would seek to steer the market toward hyper density housing (20 to 40 and more housing units to the acre) would increase traffic congestion, increase the intensity of air pollution and make California and encumber an already laggard economy.

The report concludes: "Clearly, before the California Legislature decides to take over the community planning duties of local governments and engage in social experimentation with the housing market, it should perhaps look at both sides of the argument to see if the experiment will be successful." 

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