‘Gentle’ Density Increases Could Help Alleviate High Housing Costs

By Peter Fabris | December 13, 2019
Town Homes Building Density
Photo by Bernadette Gatsby on Unsplash

In some cities, many single-family neighborhoods could add housing if zoning allowed “gentle” increases in density, according to the Brookings Institution. Such areas could accommodate townhomes, two- to four-family homes, and small-scale apartment or condominium buildings without radically changing the character of neighborhoods, the organization says.

This strategy could bring down average housing prices in high-cost locations such as Washington, D.C., while retaining the physical scale of the neighborhood. This could be done without having to cobble together adjacent lots because existing lot sizes would be big enough for such new construction.

The homes most attractive for redevelopment in this scenario are older structures that are in poor physical condition and located on relatively large lots in expensive neighborhoods.

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