How to Sell Forced Densification to Libertarians

By The Antiplannerti – excerpt

When cities pass zoning rules (as Missoula, Portland, and many Portland suburbs have done) mandating minimum-density zoning — so that people are forced to either build high-density housing in existing low-density neighborhoods or build nothing at all — libertarians lead the charge against such rules. But urban planners have managed to achieve the same result, and gain the support of some who consider themselves libertarian, by:

  1. Drawing an urban-growth boundary or passing similar policies forbidding development outside the existing urban footprint;
  2. Waiting a few years for the resulting supply shorting to push up housing prices;
  3. Blaming high housing prices on residents of single-family neighborhoods who object to densification of their neighborhoods;
  4. Proposing a law or ordinance that effectively eliminates zoning in those single-family neighborhoods…..

Yet the reality is that every major American city except Houston has single-family zoning, but only a few are unaffordable — and those few all use urban-growth boundaries or otherwise restrict development of rural lands outside the existing urban areas… (more)


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