Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Incredible Shrinking Megacity: How Los Angeles Engineered a Housing Crisis

An informative article by Henry Grabar. A snippet:

The Los Angeles-Santa Ana-Long Beach Metro Area is now, by one measure, the most expensive big-city region in the country in which to buy a home; the average home price is nine times the average income. The vacancy rate for apartments in Los Angeles County, with 10 million people the nation’s largest, is now 3.3 percent — lower than in New York City.

The tightest of these concentric circles, the City of Los Angeles, is about to hit its development limit. According to planner Greg Morrow, the city is now zoned to house at most 4.2 million people. The current population is 3.9 million....

What makes this so striking, in the case of Los Angeles (the city), is how much room there is. With slightly more than 8,000 people per square mile, L.A. is less than one-third as crowded as New York City and less than half as dense as San Francisco.

And yet, L.A. is much, much closer to its residential capacity than the more compact and more populous NYC. Los Angeles has created a crisis of artificial scarcity; a burden for renters, a drain on economic growth, and an environmental disaster. The city has planned itself into a cage.

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