Increasing Density in Single Family Neighborhoods. Two sides to every story…

by | Oct 9, 2021 | Housing and Land Use, Walkable | 0 comments

Not in my backyard NIMBY

There is some interesting history in this NY Times article about San Diego, and the increasing costs of housing and lack of affordability.

The author of the article, Conor Doughtery, is the author of Golden Gates – Fighting For Housing In America.

In the article, the author addresses many of the issues affecting owners, tenants, developers, and regulators facing today’s housing crisis;

“The suburban dream that Ms. Coats’s family bought into has become the American housing system. Reforming it is key to any number of existential problems, including reducing segregation and wealth inequality or combating sprawl and climate change (transportation accounts for about a third of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions). But the process will be long and difficult, as single-family neighborhoods are America’s predominant form of living and homeowners broadly enjoy them.


In the vast zone between those poles lie existing single-family neighborhoods like Clairemont, which account for most of the urban landscape yet remain conspicuously untouched. The omission is the product of a political bargain that says sprawl can sprawl and downtowns can rise but single-family neighborhoods are sealed off from growth by the cudgel of zoning rules that dictate what can be built where. The deal is almost never stated so plainly, but it is the foundation of local politics in virtually every U.S. city and cuts to the core of the country’s deepest class and racial conflicts.


Housing politics are nonpartisan: The term NIMBY, short for “not in my backyard,” applies to Democrats as well as Republicans. Interviews with more than a dozen A.D.U. opponents throughout the city returned an ideologically scattered mix of complaints with a crosscurrent of motivations.


They don’t want low-income housing in their neighborhood and also want new units to be more affordable. Some want backyards to remain open. Others are building A.D.U.s but think adding more than one unit is too much. One complained about Airbnb rentals. Another complained that noise from a neighboring A.D.U. had made it harder to rent his Airbnb”.

I have a similar story. In 1952, my dad was a Navy Pin Stripe Warrant Officer stationed on the USS Point Cruz. My mom did not work. They were able to purchase a home in Point Loma, a few blocks from Sunset Cliffs (for $9500).


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