In summary

Minneapolis made national headlines earlier this month when the city council forced neighborhoods previously zoned only for single family homes to allow the construction of duplexes and triplexes. Is this the right cure for California’s housing woes?

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“Zoning reform”—changing how cities decide what types of homes can be built where—isn’t just a hot topic in California.

Minneapolis, Minnesota made national headlines earlier this month when the city council adopted a plan that would force neighborhoods previously zoned only for single-family homes to allow the construction of duplexes and triplexes. The plan also calls for denser housing like apartment buildings around public transportation hubs.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter, the California Housing Crisis Podcast,” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender talks about whether Minneapolis can reverse decades of racist housing policy through zoning reform, and what lessons the city can impart to California.

“I think that was an important conversation for us to have openly, and I think we need to keep having it,” said Bender “Not everyone is convinced, that’s for sure. Focusing the conversation in race is uncomfortable sometimes for some folks.”

Bender, who previously worked for the city of San Francisco as an urban planner, also criticized California’s signature environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act.

“I’m glad we don’t have that in Minneapolis because we probably would have been enjoined from doing our plan,” says Bender. “My experience is that (CEQA) was often counter to long-term environmental benefit.”

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter,” CALmatters’ Matt Levin and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon discuss the momentum for zoning reform in other states, and recap the most important (and absurd) California housing stories of 2018.

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Matt Levin was the data and housing dude for CalMatters. His work entails distilling complex policy topics into easily digestible charts and graphs, finding and writing original stories from data, yelling...