Alan Mallach recently poked a hornet’s nest with his article published in Shelterforce that strongly questioned the affordability benefits of “build any kind of housing, anywhere.” That movement identifies deregulated zoning and an unbridled building industry as the most effective solution of creating affordable housing via a “trickle down” process.
In a detailed article Mallach, a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress and the National Housing Institute, carefully unpicks the wishful thinking that underlies what appears on the surface to be a simple solution to the multiple, complex causes of unaffordable homes in different urban centres. In particular, he questions the enthusiasm for “building anything” in the overbuilt cores of most cities.
Read more in Shelterforce: More Housing Could Increase Affordability—But Only If You Build It in the Right Places
The article triggered a vigorous response from readers. In his defence Mallach has written a second post, calling more explicitly for urban densification in the suburbs, not the city core: Densifying Suburbs Is the Better Path to Housing Affordability