LA’s City Council voted unanimously to treat the symptoms of the City’s gentrification problem by restricting property owner’s right to improve their property.
Did anyone ask the council what would be the long-term effects of restricting the supply of upscale housing? As supply is restricted, eventually what was once considered middle class housing will be needed to meet the needs of the wealthy. With less stock for the middle class to afford, they will move downscale as well and gentrify the most affordable areas. Then, when the affordable housing is gobbled up, the City Council will probably enforce even greater restrictions. It won’t be long before upper-middle-class people will be living in tiny studios just like New York and everyone else is priced out.
So, the solution is to do the opposite of what the council did. Remove restrictions on property and allow developers to build densely to meet the needs of the market. Some single family neighborhoods would gradually be redeveloped as multifamily, allowing the city to meet the housing needs of more people. Otherwise, gentrification will sweep over LA faster than ever and affordable market-rate housing will be a thing of the past.