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Noah Smith

San Francisco Progressives Declare War on Affordable Housing

Opposition to high-density housing is the ultimate in misguided Nimbyism.
Nice city. For those who can afford it.

Nice city. For those who can afford it.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The U.S. is running out of places for people to live. Rent is a bigger and bigger part of our cost of living. Here is an index of rental prices divided by median household income:

Lots of people have been wondering what to do about this problem. One proposed solution is to deregulate housing and encourage denser development. This is called the “market urbanism” approach, because it relies on deregulation -- though it would also certainly require big government investments in mass transit. Another term for this pro-density agenda is “Yimby,” an acronym standing for “yes, in my back yard.”