CRF Blog

Density’s Next Frontier: The Suburbs

by Bill Hayes

In Density’s Next Frontier: The Suburbs for CityLab, Richard Florida looks at a report on how suburbs close to cities could help solve housing shortages.

In a recent survey, America’s mayors named housing, and housing affordability, as the number-one problem facing their cities. This concern was not only voiced by mayors of expensive, coastal cities, but in diverse communities across the nation. The biggest culprit, according to a large and vocal chorus of urbanists and urban economists, is outmoded and overly restrictive zoning and building codes — not to mention politically powerful NIMBY groups — which hold back new housing construction.

But according to a report released today by urban housing economist Issi Romem of Buildzoom, many urban cores are actually developing and densifying. And lots of housing continues to get built at the suburban periphery. Romem argues that America’s real housing problem — and a big part of the solution to it — lie in closer-in single-family-home neighborhoods that were built up during the great suburban boom of the last century, and that have seen little or no new housing construction since they were initially developed. [more]