‘Grand Boulevards’ Could Ease Housing Crisis

Rede­vel­op­ing major com­mer­cial cor­ri­dors and adding hous­ing to mixed-use devel­op­ments could solve the hous­ing cri­sis, accord­ing to Con­gress for New Urban­ism co- Peter Calthor­pe.

As Robert Steuteville explains in Pub­lic Square, Calthor­pe calls this the “grand boule­vard” strat­e­gy, not­ing it “could be imple­ment­ed with a basic form-based with zero park­ing require­ments.” Accord­ing to Calthor­pe, “A 15 per­cent inclu­sion­ary zon­ing require­ment would cre­ate 300,000 afford­able hous­ing units in the Gold­en State.”

That strat­e­gy is cen­tral to a 2023 state law, AB 2011, which allows for more mixed-use devel­op­ment and high­er den­si­ty in cer­tain areas. “Using Urban Foot­print soft­ware, Calthor­pe ana­lyzed a 43- com­mer­cial cor­ri­dor between San and San Jose, the El Camino Real. Reimag­in­ing this as a grand boule­vard allows 3,500 acres of infill devel­op­ment, with up to 250,000 dwelling units— with ground- com­mer­cial space.” In fact, infill devel­op­ment on Bay Area com­mer­cial cor­ri­dors could cre­ate over 1 mil­lion new hous­ing units.

Accord­ing to Calthor­pe, “ ser­vice would be great­ly expand­ed if larg­er cor­ri­dors were served with bus­es. Water use, ener­gy use, dri­ving, green­house gas emis­sions, and house­hold trans­porta­tion could be sub­stan­tial­ly reduced, he argues.”

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