Opinion | Are You Contributing to America’s Affordable Housing Crisis?

Produced by ‘The Argument’

Rent is soaring, but close to two-thirds of renters remain on leases because of financial reasons. In 2019, nearly 70 percent of millennials surveyed said that they could not afford to buy a home on account of rising prices, and the number of people in the United States without shelter has increased by about 30 percent in the past five years. We’re in a housing crisis.

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There’s a ton of debate on how we should go about solving these issues, particularly in dense cities. People who are for building more housing units in cities argue that zoning restrictions should be reduced, which would increase the number of homes, ideally allowing supply to keep up with demand. On the other hand, some residents support strict land use regulations that prevent further development in their areas.

Today, Matt Yglesias, a D.C. resident, and Joel Kotkin, who lives in California, join host Jane Coaston to talk about the pros and cons of building more housing and single-family zoning and why moving to the suburbs isn’t the only answer. Also, the Times columnist Jamelle Bouie tells Jane about zoning policy in his city, Charlottesville, Va.

Mentioned in this episode:

“Building Housing — Lots of It — Will Lay the Foundation for a New Future” by Matt Yglesias on Vox

“In Defense of Houses” by Joel Kotkin, published in City Journal

“How Blue Cities Became So Outrageously Unaffordable,” an interview with the Vox policy reporter Jerusalem Demsas on “The Ezra Klein Show”

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Sarah Geis; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; engineering by Carole Sabouraud and mixing by Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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