CityLab staffer Brentin Mock reports on the new housing affordability legislation popping up cities where rental costs have skyrocketed. Some metros are now requiring "affordable-housing impact statements" for proposed land use, which would make government officials and developers consider the effect of new developments on housing affordability for low-income families in the area.
It should be noted that there’s a federal version of these impact statements: an 1994 executive order from the Clinton administration that requires federal agencies to consider the effects on low-income families before issuing building permits. Enforcement of that has been shaky, at best. But most permitting happens at the state and local government levels anyway—where plenty of thought goes into the financial benefits of new development, and far less into what happens to the families who lose out in these deals. With the right level of enforcement, affordable-housing impact legislation would spur more robust thinking on that end, and hopefully rein in living costs in the process.