Housing as Equitable Climate Action: Four Strategies for Achieving Land Use Reforms in Cities

Promoting more housing on cities’ vacant or underutilized properties represents one of the largest opportunities available to local governments to reduce emissions. 2021 saw cities like Charlotte and states like California and Connecticut follow Minneapolis, Oregon and others amend their land use regulations to enable missing middle housing and thus more inclusive, walkable communities. However, many policymakers, community groups, and organizers who see the potential of housing as equitable climate action struggle to adopt similar reforms. To do so demands a combination of strategies.

RMI invited political and technical city staff, activists, and others to hear from three panelists whose cities and organizations have achieved ambitious land use reforms by crafting policy playbooks, building the case for density and diversity with data, forming diverse coalitions, and envisioning the change though design competitions.

- Sean Elo-Rivera, San Diego City Council President
- Sara Bronin, Founder of DesegregateCT
- Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles and head of Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles
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