Can California’s New Housing Laws Put a Dent In The State’s Housing Shortage?

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High-density housing in Silicon Valley. (Bob Sacha via Getty Images)

Many California lawmakers agree that the lack of unaffordable housing is a huge challenge, but for years they have not agreed on how to fix the problem. This year, the Legislature passed more than 40 laws that promise to boost housing construction. One law allows developers to turn empty strip malls and office buildings into housing. Other laws reduce parking requirements for new housing developments and make it easier for school districts to build teacher housing. Advocates say that though the laws are mostly incremental tweaks to existing policies, they could add up to big changes in the long run. We’ll take a look at this year’s new housing laws and what they could mean for you.


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David Garcia, policy director, Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley

Buffy Wicks, member, California State Assembly - She represents California’s 15th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, and Piedmont.

Alfred Twu, architect; housing activist; commissioner, Berkeley Planning and Landmarks commissions