25 Solutions From A Builder’s Perspective To Fix The California Housing Crisis

It is more difficult today than it has ever been to bring new housing units to this state, but it shouldn’t be. Editorial by @HOUSINGFORLA on January 10, 2018, 12:00PM photos by HUNTER KERHART The California housing crisis is damaging our very existence. Homelessness is higher than any point during my lifetime. High housing costs are a drag on our local employers. Many working poor have a job, but live out of their vehicles. Many commute as many as four hours a day just to make a living. People are leaving our state to find the middle class American dream elsewhere. Most importantly, … Read more

WHY WALKABLE STREETS ARE MORE ECONOMICALLY PRODUCTIVE

Oxnard Boulevard looks like a wasteland because of us. Oxnard’s poor old run down Oxnard Boulevard looks like a wasteland because we do not stand up for our main street. Demonstrate your care for Oxnard Boulevard, by coming to city council meetings week after week, to demand that Oxnard Boulevard become a successful walking and shopping street and district. Economic development does not happen by itself – economic development needs you, the good people of Oxnard, to step up. Seriously. The City Council has lots on its plate, lots of distractions. It’s time to put Oxnard Boulevard, and the economic success of … Read more

Why tiny ADUs may be a big answer to the urban housing crisis

How accessory dwelling units, set to expand on the West Coast, present a small but mighty solution to affordability By Patrick Sisson  Jan 16, 2018, 12:34pm EST An ADU designed by Lanefab Design/Build, a Vancouver, Canada-based firm that specializes in designing these smaller homes. Courtesy Lanefab For cities starved of new housing, staring down an affordability crisis, and desperate for density, the opportunity to inexpensively add housing units seems to good to be true. But that’s the promise made by proponents of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs: small structures, typically totaling under 1,000 square feet, built on the property of existing homeowners. “There’s lots of … Read more

Why We Code

Oxnard needs Form Based Zoning Codes for the Successor Agency (Redevelopment) properties. Form based codes will give developers proper guidance – they will know precisely what is wanted by Oxnard Planning before they submit a project. Without Form Based codes developers will not have proper direction and may build anything that meets current 50-year-old development standards and design guidelines.  Code workshop at CNU 23 sponsored by DPZ and Placemakers Andres Duany offers more than 20 reasons why urban design coding is necessary—and he hopes that someday it will no longer be needed.Within the last half-century, some 30 million buildings have degraded cities and … Read more

Renovating a Multipurpose Main Street

Greenville Avenue’s new streetscape (Source: City of Dallas)    Streetscape improvements have helped bring back an 18-hour-a-day character to the corridor. Crime has dropped and property values have risen.    Note: This case study was written for the Institute for Transportation Engineers new bookImplementing Context Sensitive Design on Multimodal Thoroughfares, funded by the Federal Highway Administration. Greenville Avenue is the main street of a 1920s “streetcar suburb,” Lower Greenville, four miles from downtown Dallas, Texas. The context had become automobile-oriented over the years as space was given over to motor vehicles and the design allowed for speeds uncomfortable to pedestrians. Businesses … Read more

Facebook Urbanist Resources

Roy’s early 2018 list of high-quality resources for revisioning Oxnard’s downtown – or downtowns everywhere. Small Developer/Builders https://www.facebook.com/groups/smalldevelopersandbuilders I especially recommend the Small Developer/Builders Facebook page. Oxnard has strong potential for missing middle housing in the R-2 areas surrounding the CBD. Only problem being City of Oxnard parking requirements/restrictions. R John Anderson https://www.facebook.com/rjohn.anderson The Shoupistas https://www.facebook.com/groups/70015940360 https://www.shoupdogg.com Parking is a huge urban design and civic space issue. Oxnard parking requirements/restrictions continue to make downtown housing impossible… Urban Retail Institute https://www.facebook.com/UrbanRetailInstitute http://www.urbanretailinstitute.com Retail Apocalypse? Read about it here. How are we repurposing dying retail malls and other spaces into housing and other … Read more

Potential of Downtown Oxnard

Recently stated by others: “…Downtown Oxnard will never be the thriving hub of county commerce again, because 101 is now the main artery and other parts of the county, mostly near major thoroughfares, are now more developed.” Oxnard Renaissance: The 101 will not be king forever. Private cars, except for the very wealthy, will be a thing of the past – perhaps in our lifetimes. Train (tube) corridors are the future. Oh, wait – there aren’t any in the West…Oh well. Time will play this out – we could make more dumb near term politically motivated choices, like choosing high-speed rail over … Read more

How Zoning Restrictions Make Segregation Worse

A new study identifies the precise ways that stricter land use regulations lead to greater divides. kropic1 / Shutterstock.com   We’ve long known two things about land use regulations. One is that elements of them—in the form of large lot requirements and other aspects of “exclusionary zoning”—have led to the racial and economic segregation. The other is that restrictive land use and building codes in cities limit housing construction (and therefore housing supply), leading to increased costs, worse affordability problems, and deepened inequality in urban centers. What we haven’t fully understood—until now—is how restrictive land use regulations in cities and … Read more

YES, YOU CAN BUILD YOUR WAY TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Lessons from unexpected places. Author: Alan Durning September 21, 2017 “You can’t build your way out of a housing affordability problem.” That’s conventional wisdom. I hear it all the time: Prosperous, growing, tech-rich cities from Seattle to the Bay Area and from Austin to Boston are all gripped by soaring rents and home prices. But what if you can build your way to affordable housing? What if, in fact, building is the only path to affordable housing? What if cities around the world have been building their way to affordability for decades? You can. It is. And they have. Houston by Craig Washburn (Used with permission.) … Read more

IMPACT FEES: AN URBAN PLANNING ZOMBIE IN NEED OF SLAYING

Eight reasons why impact fees thwart the creation of equitable, sustainable cities. Author: Dan Bertolet September 28, 2017 When people make a mess we expect them to clean it up. If a private business harms others, we demand it pay the damages. These norms stoke the allure of impact fees—charges levied on homebuilders to compensate for the presumed burden on public services caused by the homes they construct. But in the case of cities, there’s one big problem with that impulse: adding new homes to urban neighborhoods is a good thing overall, a net positive for people and the planet, not a transgression to penalize. … Read more