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Perspective

Cities Need Housing. Parking Requirements Make it Harder.

California was a pioneer in minimum parking mandates, which drive up housing costs and climate emissions. Now the state is ready to lead the nation in reclaiming our cities from parking lots. 

A parking lot in Emeryville, California. 

A parking lot in Emeryville, California. 

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

There’s a crisis plaguing cities throughout the U.S. that’s driving up poverty, homelessness and carbon emissions. It lowers quality of life, brings respiratory illness and makes cities less affordable. It also makes our streets more dangerous — and it’s entirely preventable.

The culprit: minimum parking requirements, which force developers to set aside vast amounts of valuable land and construction budgets to create vehicle parking for residential and commercial buildings alike. These outdated planning policies make it difficult to build more multi-family homes within urban boundaries, fueling an unprecedented housing shortage that is entirely artificial in origin.