Urban Housing Crisis and Politics

In a piece for New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer, Jonathan Chait looks at how the urban housing crisis is challenging progressive political stances. The whole article, which is relatively short, is a worthwhile read, but here are a couple of excerpts that hit at the heart of the matter:

Housing is too expensive in many cities because there isn’t enough of it. There isn’t enough of it because zoning and other regulations prevent the construction of high-density housing.


Opponents of allowing more dense housing construction associate the solution with gentrification, but this gets the question backwards. Gentrification is the result of artificially constricted housing supply, which pushes the demand for new housing into poorer neighborhoods, where new entrants outbid existing renters.

You really should read the whole article.