California housing crisis podcast: Will a boom in building make housing more affordable?


The solution to California’s housing affordability problem promoted by Gov. Gavin Newsom and many state lawmakers is straightforward: The state needs lots more new homes.

But the governor’s idea and other policies that aim to promote more building have come under scrutiny, including from local activists worried about the effects of new development on gentrification and displacement in existing communities.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we discuss what research shows about how increases in housing supply affect costs across a region and in individual neighborhoods. We also tie the discussion to a current proposal in California to allow for four- to five-story apartments and condominiums near transit and other legislative efforts to boost construction.


Our guests are Michael Lens, an associate professor of urban planning and public policy at UCLA, and Yonah Freemark, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Freemark is the author of a new study showing that a recent plan to encourage more density around transit stops in Chicago increased home values while not immediately leading to more construction.

Gimme Shelter,” a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times’ Sacramento bureau, and Matt Levin, data and housing reporter for CALmatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast.

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