To nobody’s surprise, especially that of the millions of Californians who struggle to find and pay for housing, the state’s housing shortage and affordability crisis yet again dominated CP&DR’s coverage. Almost every CP&DR news story and commentary covered housing, and housing-related stories were also our most-read stories.
But it wasn’t the only story, of course. With the tech boom, new transit lines, and the most acute effects of the housing crisis, the Bay Area alone could have occupied every headline this year if we let it. Instead, we scoured the state to find compelling local stories and found them in places like St. Helena, Santa Maria, the Tahoe region, and others.
Herewith are CP&DR’s most-read stories of the year, categorized by statewide news, local news, commentary, and legal digest.
(And for everyone keeping track at home, here are top stories from past years.)
Of course, the housing crisis has been a slow-moving one, building since the Great Recession of the late 2000s (indeed, it’s our top story of the decade). A key difference between this year and previous years is that this year includes as much action as it does lamentation. In 2017 and 2018, the state adopted laws that gave greater power to policies like RHNA, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has not been shy about putting his political capital towards the 3.5 million new homes that he seeks. In turn, lawmakers were emboldened once again to sponsor a whole new round of housing bills, many of which were signed.
More Housing Bills Introduced, March 3
News (Local & Regional)
This year, we redoubled our efforts to cover compelling local plans and projects that, we think, offer useful case studies for planners statewide. In many cases, theme was density, with cities like St. Helena clearing the way to add density incrementally and cities like Truckee redeveloping entire parcels for mixed use and multifamily development.
With material drawn from this year’s American Planning Association conference in San Diego, the practice of planning features prominently among CP&DR’s most popular commentaries this year, as does, of course, housing.
Santa Barbara APA Report: Clamshell Planning, September 17
The Three Big Reforms On Housing Policy, October 15
High Speed Rail is Dead, Long Live High Speed Rail, February 12
As always, CEQA cases feature prominently in Legal Digest, though we also got a rare United States Supreme Court case that may have local land use implications.
SB 375 Environmental Review Upheld, July 21
Yet More Detail for EIRs, January 8
Alameda Loses Impact Fee Battle, May 26