Also: Another 2020 housing plan, and when public housing was suburban-style.

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What We’re Following

Backyard battleground: California’s housing crisis has spurred a deep divide in the state’s largely progressive metro areas. On one side of this debate stand the NIMBYs—often seen as older suburban homeowners fiercely resistant to any new development. Their young nemeses are the YIMBYs—Millennial urbanites who insist on squeezing in new housing wherever it can go. That generational clash has served to reduce each camp to cartoons, but it hasn’t captured the nuances of the region’s bitter struggle over housing supply; neither side seems interested in the hopes or fears of their adversaries, or their love of their cities and neighborhoods.

Today on CityLab, West Coast bureau chief Laura Bliss delves deep into the NIMBY instinct, asking the founder of the advocacy group Livable California what drives her passionate defense of the suburban status quo. Is the state’s supercharged brand of NIMBYism as cynical and self-serving as housing activists say, or should the term imply something more positive? “It’s about people being stewards of what they love and care about,” she tells Laura. Read the story: What NIMBYs Want

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

What the Fear Campaign Against Immigrants Is Doing

Even “secure” households say they’re afraid of interacting with immigration enforcement, limiting their mobility and use of public space.

Sarah Holder

It’s Getting Too Damn Hot to Have Fun in the Summer

An environmental economist explains how climate change and extreme weather could mean summer is no longer the peak season for festivals and outdoor recreation.

Linda Poon

Berkeley Bans Natural Gas in New Buildings

On Tuesday, the California city passed the first all-electric building ordinance in the United States.

Susie Cagle

When Public Housing Was Suburban-Style and White

In 1945, Portland made a short film celebrating the low-rise, landscaped Columbia Villa, a public-housing project for white Portlanders.

Carl Abbott


House Specialty

Mike Segar/Reuters

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is the latest Democratic candidate to unveil a housing plan. On Thursday, she joined the ranks of her Senate colleagues Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren, plus former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, in releasing a comprehensive plan for housing affordability. Klobuchar’s vision includes some features common to all those plans—stronger renter protections, expanded homeownership opportunities—as well as some details all her own.

Perhaps most notable: a focus on rural housing. Her plan would address the roughly 54 million Americans who live in rural areas without an adequate supply of safe, affordable housing—folks who often go unnoticed in conversations about the high cost of housing on the coasts. The senator’s plan calls for training, education, and other improvements to connect rural communities with housing developers, for example. Other candidates with less to say about rural or Native American housing may want to look to her plan for inspiration.

Klobuchar trumpets the local accomplishments of the Minneapolis 2040 plans in her calls to loosen restrictive zoning as a way to build more housing. Like several other candidates, she aims to increase the scope and reach of successful federal housing programs such as Section 8 and Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Given the reach of the affordable housing crisis—it touches every single county in America—maybe the candidates could get together in some kind of forum for discussion to hash out the details of these housing plans?

CityLab context: How Housing Became the Hottest Issue of the 2020 Elections

Kriston Capps


What We’re Reading

Automakers strike a deal with California, rejecting Trump’s pollution rule (New York Times)

Better weather forecasts are changing the way cities are run (Curbed)

Atlanta is blowing all its safety money on a flashy pedestrian bridge (Streetsblog)

Here’s why the U.S. can’t figure out why infrastructure costs so much (New York)

Bill de Blasio makes a national pitch for Vision Zero (Politico)


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