Talk Policy to Me: The California housing crisis

(Photo by Ananth Pai via Unsplash)

(Photo by Ananth Pai via Unsplash)

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NIMBYism, geographical limitation and weaponized policies have led California to the biggest housing crisis in state history. Can state-level policies fix a very local problem?

California housing is an undeniable problem. Rents are too high and there is not enough housing for those who need it in the places they want it. But how did we get here? Why has the development of solutions shifted from a city level to a state level?

UC Berkeley MPP student Spencer Bowen speaks with Ophelia Basgal and Elizabeth Kneebone from the Terner Center and California Assembly member, David Chiu. Here are five intersecting causes of California’s housing crisis that they help identify:

  • Limited land and diverse geography
  • Production not keeping pace with booming job market
  • Housing is expensive to build and new methods are limited
  • Cities wield their power to slow down or vote down projects that they don’t like
  • Proposition 13 and the California Environmental Quality Act have been weaponized to limit housing production


  • Talk Policy To Me is a podcast built by students at the Goldman School of Public Policy in partnership with the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans.

    Read more and listen to other Talk Policy to Me episodes on the Goldman School of Public Policy’s website.

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