Photo: Thomas Brothers Map showing exclusionary lending areas, 1937.
More affordable homes are on the agenda for Berkeley City Council on February 23. Council will take action to end racist and exclusionary zoning laws implemented a century ago. The city is ready to allow quadplexes in many of its single family zoned neighborhoods, neighborhoods that are currently largely affluent and unaffordable to most.
A change to zoning allowing more housing will complement Berkeley’s recent elimination of parking minimums, creating an environment where more people can live car-free or car-light within the same footprint. Comment your support today.
For some background, Councilmember Lori Droste tweeted a useful thread about how Berkeley led us to this point, which features Councilmember Ben Bartlett and Yelda Bartlett’s Berkeleyside OpEd on the need for change: “Zoning laws in Berkeley have been used historically to exclude African Americans and other populations from certain parts of the city. For equity’s sake, they must be changed.”
Councilmember Droste underscores how this is not just an issue of racial & socioeconomic equity, it’s a basic issue of affordability. Housing with multiple units builds middle & lower income families in Berkeley, while single-family homes, no matter what year built, are exclusively higher income. “Using the law to declare ‘rich people only’ does not reflect Berkeley’s values. It is well past time for Berkeley to scrap the racist, exclusionary zoning laws that it invented to keep out affordable homes. This is one of the biggest moral issues of our time and Berkeley must be a leader in fostering inclusive neighborhoods that help reverse injustice and inequality,” Vice Mayor Droste said in a press release.
Bike East Bay works with many local organizations such as Walk Bike Berkeley to make streets safe and better connect people to their destinations by bicycling. We support the end to exclusionary housing.