Local control, as I wrote in my last column, can sometimes backfire. America’s affordable housing crisis is a prime example. The sensible response to rapid population growth and inflated prices in our cities is to build more housing. But thanks to a “not in my backyard” mentality that is supported by a hyper-local planning model, existing residents are able to resist new construction that promotes density.
To get around this obstacle, land use control has in some cases shifted from localities to states. But a top-down approach isn’t very democratic and, as a result, has helped spur a counter, grassroots movement of YIMBYs, or “yes in my backyard” supporters.