Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Answer to Population Growth Crisis?

I recently received this comment in an email: “We have a global and local population crisis. How could more people living in the same household possibly be a bad thing? Sounds like the code itself needs to change to be more accepting of different options.” I responded by saying that the problem is that the status quo contravenes the zoning code for single family zoned areas. In turn, that subverts the very planning process used to manage the growth about which the writer speaks (not to mention all the hard work that goes into those neighborhood plans). The writer is correct in the assumption that to control sprawl, we ought to have higher densities in the city. These need to be planned, however. The accumulation of rooming houses in areas zoned for single family is not controlled and puts pressures on the infrastructure, not to mention on the quality of life of the residents, that those areas were not meant to bear. Additionally, the single family homes, which are rented by their owners, come under no control by the city. This invites price gouging by landlords and does not allow for inspection of the premises for health and safety reasons.

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