Complementary Strategies for Affordable Housing and Carbon Cuts
Zoning that creates walkable neighborhoods
Transit that reaches out into the surrounding county.
As an organic gardener for more than four decades, I am acutely aware of the interconnection of systems, both natural and cultural. In the same way that production of healthy food is a result of the amendments put into the soil, it is clear that the amendments we inject into our society have fundamental effects on our lives.
We need to consistently think in systems. You can never do only ‘one thing’ because every action spreads out like ripples from a stone tossed into a pond. That’s why I recognize that climate change has to be addressed by changes in zoning as well as transit and parking policies. It’s why I press for changes in waste stream collection as well as housing regulation reform. No issue sits in isolation and our City policies need to reflect our wishes and needs in every application.”
Our zoning decisions will affect development practices for decades. Will we build ourselves into walkable neighborhoods or continue the post-WWII practice of institutionalizing auto traffic? Will we supplement affordable housing by extending transit lines or by sinking money into downtown apartment projects? The choices could not be clearer.
My position is that attempting to battle the surge in downtown property values is fruitless. Affordability has migrated to the margins as big money rediscovered downtown in the new century. Spending City resources to bid into a rising downtown market will create a few affordable units. Spending the same money to help folks who find affordable units outside of town to commute to their jobs is a tangible and realistic goal.
This dovetails with my vision for Asheville’s future.