Obama Hopes To Change America Through Upzoning

It’s not every day that real estate developers find themselves in agreement with the Obama administration. On Monday, the White House released a “toolkit” of economic facts and talking points encouraging local and county governments to overhaul their zoning laws and housing policies. The takeaway? The president wants more development — and higher densities — to combat a nationwide housing shortage that’s dragging down the economy.

The report calls out local resistance to development and suggests ways for city and county governments to combat community opposition and NIMBYism.

“Over the past three decades, local barriers to housing development have intensified,” the report notes, particularly in areas of high job growth like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. “The intensity and impact of such barriers are most evident in the vibrant job-generating regions where fervent demand far outstrips supply.”

The inability for workers to find housing in areas where the jobs are is exacerbating income inequality and stifling economic growth, the report says. According to one estimate, barriers to development in major cities cost the U.S. economy about $1.95 trillion a year, Politico reports.

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