Letters to the Editor: Why build housing in the ‘burbs? Because people can afford to live there

New homes
Homes are under construction in Roseville, Calif., in May 2018.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: Once again, the Los Angeles Times has published an op-ed article that praises the densification of our cities. Rapid transit and high-rise apartments are painted as the solutions to our affordable housing shortage, traffic woes, increasing homelessness and assorted other social ills.

But why do middle-class families move to far-flung suburbs? Because they want to live in an affordable single-family homes in towns with good public schools and little crime.

Developers in the urban centers cannot make profits building anything other that luxury apartments and town homes, and the folks spending $4,000 or more per month for those cramped urban apartments don’t want to raise families in them.


Furthermore, the public schools there are generally subpar, and city dwellers use their cars because transit is inconvenient, dirty and feels unsafe.

Advocacy groups like Abundant Housing promise much if their plans are carried out, but in reality they cannot deliver results.

Walter Dominguez, Los Angeles


To the editor: Solving the housing and jobs issue is indeed related to the traffic congestion and clean-air problems. The imbalance offered by the Southern California Assn. of Governments plan to locate the bulk of new housing in the area’s exurbs should be corrected.

Building out a coherent regional mass transit system would help, as would bringing good-paying jobs to underserved areas. The Abundant Housing plan offers a viable alternative to the SCAG plan, but implementing it will require political will and local support.

The main question is whether we are ready to counter the sprawl mentality that has guided our regional planning for decades and to commit to building housing and job centers around transit nodes.


Philip S. Hart, Los Feliz

The writer is an urban planner who served on the Metro Expo Line Urban Design Committee.