Posts by Author: Rachel Dovey

Pew: Income Gap Now Widest Among Asian Americans

(Credit: Pew Research)

Income inequality is often presented as a study in socioeconomic or racial difference — the racial wealth gap, for example, or comparisons of household income in rural vs. urban America. But, as Pew Research Center recently pointed out, another “important part of the story of rising income inequality is that experiences within America’s racial and ethnic communities vary strikingly from one group to the other.”

Take America’s Asian population — which now has the widest gap between its top and bottom earners, according to a new report from the research center.

From the report:

From 1970 to 2016, the gap in the standard of living between Asians near the top and the bottom of the income ladder nearly doubled, and the distribution of income among Asians transformed from being one of the most equal to being the most unequal among America’s major racial and ethnic groups.

In this process, Asians displaced blacks as the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the U.S….

Asian Americans, of course, aren’t alone. According to Pew, the income gap between ALL Americans at the top and the bottom of the income distribution widened a whopping 27 percent over that same 46 years.

But the widening gap within the country’s Asian population is part of a story of several immigration laws, according to the research organization. Immigrants accounted for 81 percent of the growth in the adult Asian population from 1970 to 2016, following the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. That law favored family reunification, and, together with the end of the Vietnam War, it brought a wave of refugees into the U.S.

“One result was that the share of new Asian immigrants working in high-skill occupations decreased from 1970 to 1990, and the share working in low-skill occupations increased,” according to the report.

More recently, however, the Immigration Act of 1990 (which sought to increase the inflow of skilled immigrants to the U.S.) coincided with a tech boom that brought a new wave of Asian immigrants from India under the H-1B visa program.

“Thus, since 1990, there has been an increase in the share of Asian immigrants employed in high-skill occupations,” according to the report.

The new data will likely be helpful for equity-focused policymakers — who haven’t always seen Asian Americans included in large research projects. Even when they are, “Asian” is itself a broad category that masks many historic ethnicities with differing median hourly wages and household incomes.

That variation, as Next City has covered, is a particular challenge for both the Asians and Pacific Islanders because of the “model minority” myth.

“On educational attainment or disconnected youth, they’re doing better as a group than others, but it’s really masking a lot,” Sarah Treuhaft, director of equitable growth initiatives at PolicyLink, told Next City in 2016. “It’s detrimental to the groups who aren’t doing as well.”

Pew’s report can be viewed here.


Davis, California, is Still One of the Safest Cities to Bike

(Credit: Flickr user velo_city)

If you’re looking for safe cycling, don’t go to Iowa. Five of the 10 most dangerous cities for bicyclists can be found in the midwestern state — Webster City, Waterloo, Sioux City, Johnston and Des Moines — according to a new report from security company ADT. The company also lists Los Angeles, New York and Houston among the finalists for that dubious category.

Most dangerous cities for cyclists. (Courtesy of ADT)

ADT considered the number of bike commuters, protected bike lanes and cyclist-friendly laws, while factoring in the number of fatal crashes, the WCF Courier reports. And while some of the company’s findings overlap with previous bike safety reports, it’s a helpful look at many of the smaller cities that more well-known organizations often overlook.

Davis, California, for example, tops the list of safest cities for cyclists (no surprise there, considering Davis is essentially built around a massive employment center, UC Davis, that’s closed to cars). Eugene, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; and Palo Alto, California, also made the cut.

Safest Cities for Cyclists. (Courtesy of ADT)

The company’s data also highlights some interesting and previously under-reported trends — for example, that Missoula, Montana, reports that more than 7% of residents use cycling as a main method of transportation to work (this ranks #6 out of the cities researched). However, statewide Montana scored 0 in bike-law categories.

In Iowa, cyclists have a legal right to roadways, but must adhere to the same traffic rules as vehicles, according to The Courier. Some cities have been trying to educate cyclists as to just what those traffic laws are, but, as Next City has covered, such education is rarely as effective as comprehensive bike infrastructure. One reason: Infrastructure brings out more cyclists, who create what’s often referred to as the “safety in numbers” principle.

As one well-known safety-tracker has put it: “The ‘safety in numbers’ research indicates that more bikers on the road makes drivers more aware of bikers — and more drivers have had the experience of biking.”


Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Throws Weight Behind Affordable Housing

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Facebook is voting ‘yes’ on California’s Proposition 1.

The “Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loans Bond,” which will appear on the state’s ballot in November, would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing-related programs, loans, grants, and projects, and housing loans for veterans. On Monday, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative — helmed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan — announced that it will donate $250,000 toward the campaign for the ballot measure, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports. The donation is the largest the Proposition 1 campaign has received so far.

“The measure will help more workers live in the same communities where they work, provide below-market interest rates with low- to no-down payment for veterans to buy homes and help low and very low-income households have access to affordable housing,” according to a press release issued by the Initiative.

Veterans have been particularly hard-hit by the Bay Area’s notorious housing crunch, the Sentinel reports. Last year Santa Clara County recorded 660 homeless vets (according to data from the All the Way Home Campaign), making it one of the counties with the highest number of unsheltered veterans in the nation. Nearby Alameda County recorded 531 the same year.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has entered the housing sector. Last year, the company made public its plans build a new Menlo Park campus complete with (at least) 1,500 new housing units. The idea was to build mixed-use density into the company’s new employment center, as Next City covered at the time. But some critics fear the units aren’t enough, and with a continuing influx of new employees, the regional jobs/housing imbalance will remain a problem.

At the state level, meanwhile, California legislators have been getting both aggressive and creative about the housing shortage this year. Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 827 — which proposed a radical up-zone of apartment buildings near transit state-wide, whatever local zoning codes say — died at its first committee hearing earlier this year, but the conversations and debates (and all-out fist fights) it spawned will likely echo into 2019’s legislative session. And Proposition 1 isn’t alone in addressing housing on the 2018 ballot — other measures tackle homelessness and rent control.


King County Gets in on the Equitable TOD Game

Seattle's skyline. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Taking advantage of a new Washington state law, King County will donate a portion of county-owned land to a nonprofit developer for affordable housing, the Seattle Times reports. The land abuts the future Northgate light rail-station.

The county’s decision to forgo what could have been a profitable RFP process (one of the rejected bids offered $20 million for the land, according to the Times) was made possible with the 2018 passage of HB 2382, which allowed public agencies to discount the price of land if that land would be developed “for public benefit.”

“The new proposal will make it clear that the land for the affordable housing component must be provided to the nonprofit developer at no cost,” Casey Sixkiller, the chief operating officer of the King County executive’s office, wrote, according to the paper. Both King County and the City of Seattle have committed $10 million to the project.

In a region increasingly squeezed by high rents and low supply, King County isn’t the only agency forgoing profit in the name of housing affordability. As Next City has covered, Sound Transit — which used to sell surplus land to the highest bidder to recoup project expenses — now has to follow the legislature-mandated 80-80-80 policy, meaning that it has to offer 80 percent of suitable surplus property to affordable housing developers that make at least 80 percent of units on site affordable to people earning 80 percent or less of area median income. (One beneficiary of that policy, Capitol Hill Housing, broke ground on a new development last month.)

For the Northgate development, the county plans to issue an RFP by the end of July, the Times reports. The development was initially supposed to include at least 200 units of affordable housing, but with the land being donated that number will likely go up.


In S.F., Data Gaps in Ride-Sharing Are an Obstacle to Basic Planning

An Uber driver in Bogotá, Columbia (Photo by Alexander Torrenegra) 

Much has been made of ride-hailing companies’ screeching zoom into the scooter marketplace — especially in San Francisco. But even as Uber teams up with Lime to boost the emissions-free transport, the company is withholding data about its vehicles from city planners, which could compromise San Francisco’s ability to meet state greenhouse-gas targets.

Ride-sharing operators are declining to share data about the number of cars on the road, where they’re going or how often they’re running fares in the California city, Mission Local reports. That’s not exactly surprising — as Next City has covered, Uber has challenged city policy around disclosing drop-off times in New York City and has been fined for failing to provide data to state regulators in California. But according to a draft report from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the companies’ tight-lipped status quo is no longer just a headache for city planners — it’s become crippling, affecting everything from congestion to safety and equitable planning. And it’s certainly not helping the city sync with either its own goals or with the state’s targets for lowering greenhouse-gas emissions, as required by AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

From Mission Local:

Fully 85 percent of all possible “outcome metrics” were not reported by any company, Uber and Lyft included.

And that’s no mere oversight. In a 2012 filing to the California Public Utilities Commission, Lyft argued that trip data was a “closely guarded trade secret” that guaranteed Lyft’s ability to raise capital investment and compete in a market dominated by Uber, which Lyft characterized as “ruthless.”

In a 2017 document filed with the CPUC, Lyft laid out the type of information it collects, according to the news site, including trips completed, time and location of pick-ups and drop-offs and miles and hours traveled by drivers.

That data would allow the city to move forward with what the draft report calls the city’s Guiding Principles for long-range planning: goals such as equitable access, transit patterns that work with first-last mile technologies and fair-labor policies for transit operators. Without it, though, the planners behind the report begin to sound like broken records.

“The city does not have adequate data from enough emerging mobility companies to fully evaluate how well emerging mobility services are aligned with our Guiding Principles,” they write in the executive summary. And later: “ecause we have inadequate data, we do not fully understand how this sector is impacting travel-mode choice behavior and congestion.” Or: “San Francisco is a Transit-First city, but inadequate data means we do not have comprehensive information on how the emerging-mobility sector is impacting transit ridership or our capital investments.”

While the “trade-secret” argument has long been brandished by both Uber and Lyft, Uber, at least, has shown some willingness to work with city officials with crowdsourced information. Last year it debuted “Movement,” which curates GPS data from its drivers’ smartphones. It also began offering real-time public-transit info so that riders could transfer from ride-shares to fixed modes more seamlessly.

But that still leaves much to be desired in San Francisco, according to the draft report, which will be resubmitted to the Transportation Authority later this summer.

“We really want to know about the tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft trips,” Andy Thornley, a senior analyst in the Sustainable Streets Division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, told Mission Local. “We really need that basic operational data.”


To Stop Fatal Police Shootings, Cities Should Look to the 1980s

(Photo by Daniel Schwen)

What do airplane crashes, surgical errors and nuclear power plant meltdowns have in common? According to a paper from criminologist Lawrence W. Sherman, as “rare events in complex systems,” they hold valuable lessons for city police departments — particularly in the area of reducing fatal shootings.

Sherman’s research, published in the 2018 Annual Review of Criminology, takes a detached and wide-lens look at fatal police shootings, in what he terms a “system-crash prevention approach.” Particularly of interest to municipal leaders, as the Washington Post recently pointed out, is the now mostly-forgotten fact that cities dramatically reduced police gun violence through a series of training and legal reforms throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s — and if the political will were there, history could repeat itself.

From the paper:

From 1970 through 1985, 50 cities of more than 250,000 residents each took actions that cut in half the annual total count of citizens killed by police in those cities from 353 to 172 per year (Sherman & Cohn 1986). The major change during this period was a growing ban on shooting nonviolent fleeing suspects. This now-forgotten change in police-citizen violence saw both killings by and killings of police fall dramatically, by 51 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

Reform-minded police chiefs such as Patrick Murphy in Washington, D.C. (who later moved to New York City), played a big part in those reductions as well, according to the Post. Murphy implemented changes in the areas of training, supervision and monitoring, even going so far as to establish what Sherman terms “the equivalent of a National Transportation Safety Board” to conduct inquiries on each firearms discharge.

But police killings went back up in the ‘90s, when big-city homicide rates spiked and, in response, many law enforcement agencies switched from revolvers to semiautomatic pistols. A Supreme Court decision around the same time made the now-infamous ruling that officers could justify their gun-fire if they reasonably believed a life were in danger.

“Although many leaders of black communities in cities both large and small seemed well aware of the continuing police killings they faced, by the mid-1990s the national good news of declining general homicide rates became the dominant long-term crime story,” according to the paper.

Of course, using criminology to deter police brutality isn’t a new idea — it’s just a chronically under-funded one, particularly since President Trump slashed funding for the COPS community policing program earlier this year. (Even before the cut, that program was sometimes criticized for fostering too many buzzwords and team-building barbecues and too few actual reforms.)

But the paper takes aim at several real-city examples — the Cleveland killing of Tamir Rice (a 12-year-old holding a toy gun), for example, contrasted with what could easily have been another slaying in Camden, New Jersey. In Camden, however, officers formed a circle around a man wielding an actual knife, followed him around, cleared traffic and had tasers at the ready, but eventually de-escalated the situation instead of using force.

“Note that this case does not require the re-engineering of an entire police agency,” Sherman writes. “All it required was a focus on patience. What Camden did can arguably be attempted in any police agency of any size in the United States …”

The paper can be read here.


Miami-Dade Mayor Plans to Move Forward with BRT

Metrorail/Trirail station at Miami International Airport. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez now seems to favor the more cost-efficient BRT over the rail project. (Photo by Phillip Pessar)

Miami-Dade County’s 16-years-in-the-making transit battle will come to a head next week.

On July 19, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez plans to ask the local transportation board to endorse building a bus rapid transit system along the South Dade busway, a two-lane highway already reserved for county buses, the Miami Herald reports. Gimenez began pushing for BRT along the busway last year, when he signed a $534-million proposal for a number of routes, as Next City reported at the time.

The problem: A transit tax approved by Miami-Dade voters in 2002 promised 90 miles of rail, not bus-tracks. So far, that tax has only resulted in a two-mile extension to the Miami International Airport, and many leaders, particularly suburban mayors in south Miami-Dade County, don’t want funds or space diverted for anything with rubber tires.

“Unless you’re talking about light rail, don’t bother coming to South Dade talking about bigger buses,” Kionne McGhee, a state representative, told the Herald in 2016. “There’s not a single pastor, a single mayor, a single city council member who is asking for bus. They’re all asking for rail.”

But although Gimenez made a number of campaign promises about rail, the price-tag of BRT eventually won him over. A January 2016 study found that upgrading service along the busway would cost $115 million, compared to $2.5 billion for light rail, as Jen Kinney wrote for Next City at the time. Currently, the mayor’s proposal for the entire bus network rests at $300 million, according to the Herald.

“We’ve been looking at this for some time,” Gimenez told members of a county transportation board in 2017. “And these numbers are real.”

The mayor also voiced concern about securing federal funding for rail, positing that BRT could more realistically be covered by state and local dollars. The county appears less concerned about that now; According to the Herald, if Gimenez secures the board’s backing, the plan “is to apply for federal funding within weeks, with hopes that Washington and Florida would agree to cover about two-thirds of the price tag in 2019.” Operations could start as soon as 2022.

But securing the board’s backing is still an “if.”

From the paper:

Miami-Dade is ready to conclude the South Dade SMART study by recommending rapid transit bus for that corridor. The transportation board could accept that recommendation, or vote to overrule the administration and select extending Metrorail for South Dade. The board could also delay the decision altogether and conclude the July 19 meeting without a decision.

Regardless, South County leaders are swearing they won’t forget that original 2002 promise of rail.


California’s Battle Over One Size Fits All Transit-Oriented Zoning

City Hall in Palo Alto, California. (Credit: Tomwsulcer)

Predictably, a number of affluent Bay Area suburbs (and the anti-development neighborhood groups that have come to characterize them in national news reports) are up-in-arms over SB 827, the now (in)famous legislation to fast-track development near transit stations across the state, introduced by State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) in January. But just as the bill’s many opponents can’t be stereotyped, the cities embracing its core tenets are often surprising.

Take Palo Alto, where the City Council last week approved a new ordinance that gives developers more freedom in what they can build — including buildings up to 50 feet with less conservative parking requirements — provided they build near transit. The so-called “Affordable Housing Combining District” applies to income-restricted multi-family housing projects located within a half-mile of a major transit stop, or a quarter mile of a transit corridor, according to the city’s website. “Affordable,” in this case, means residents making up to 120 percent of the area median income, or $102,000 for a two-person household.

Housing is one of Palo Alto City Council’s “dedicated priorities for 2018,” according to the city’s website, but the city’s record on the issue is less-than-stellar. Between 2007-2014, the city produced 1,602 total housing units, or just 37 percent of its Regional Housing Needs Allocation, according to the State Housing Element (the California law that guides long-range planning) for that period, according to Of those, only 290 units — or a mere 16 percent of the regional goal — were considered affordable. Other Santa Clara County cities, meanwhile, saw a surge in residential construction during the same time period, according to the site.

“This is a huge step forward for Palo Alto, which has not approved ANY affordable housing projects since 2009,” Palo Alto Forward board member Elaine Uang wrote in an email to the Bay Area News Group, soon after City Council approved the ordinance. “With the housing shortage at a critical point we really needed to take steps to create flexibility and a standard process for affordable housing applicants, and they really did that last night.”

The ordinance is not linked to SB 827, but it’s very similar, — and could perhaps be viewed as the city seeing the state writing on the wall. Weiner’s “Transit Zoning Bill” would essentially preempt local zoning standards with looser statewide standards around height, density and parking, if proposed developments are within a half-mile of a train or subway station. It’s a reaction to the state’s notoriously complicated city-by-city zoning laws, which are meant to provide local environmental oversight, but are so often co-opted by (primarily white, affluent) neighborhood groups that oppose multi-family housing with coded terms about “crime” and “community character.” SB 827 is being actively marketed as a way for local officials to tell those powerful groups that their hands are tied by the state.

But the opposition to SB 827 hasn’t been clear-cut. As the San Francisco Examiner has covered, a number of tenants groups in San Francisco — primarily composed of people of color — have come out against the law, fearing that it will create a development frenzy that will spur mass evictions.

And another law proposed by Weiner, SB 35, is being put to the test in Berkeley, and highlighting some of the dangers of fast-tracking development. SB 35, as Next City has covered, says that any municipality not meeting its regional housing requirements needs to allow “over-the-counter approval” for projects that fulfill certain zoning requirements. In Berkeley, a developer is currently invoking the new law to push through a project opposed by three separate Ohlone family bands, who claim the site as ancestral burial grounds.

“Our sacred sites were never given up by our families — not legally, nor in theory,” Vincent Medina, a spokesperson for the groups, recently told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Palo Alto ordinance doesn’t give developers a free pass — and still mandates that they go through a design review process overseen by the city. But it does give them more flexibility, and tweaks local zoning to look a lot more like what’s being proposed by the state.


Judge says DOJ Can’t Tie Police Funding to Immigration Enforcement

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, flanked by Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti during a press conference announcing the nationwide injunction. (AP Photo/Mike Balsamo)

A federal judge last week issued a permanent, nationwide ban against a new Justice Department policy favoring local police departments that cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Los Angeles Times reports.

The ruling applies to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which awards funding to municipal police departments trying to build trust with underserved communities rather than what what one researcher characterized in a 2014 Next City interview as “the reactive, call-driven system” that defines traditional policing. Los Angeles has regularly applied to the program and received funding in recent years for programs that include mentoring services in a number of Watts-area housing developments.

Last year, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions changed how applications for the funds would be scored, with additional points going to police departments that assisted ICE agents in identifying undocumented inmates.

From the Times:

To get the point boost, police departments had to be willing to alert ICE 48 hours before releasing inmates who agents had targeted for deportation and were required to give ICE agents access to jail facilities so they could interview inmates and review records. Los Angeles, which refused to abide by the new rules, was not awarded any funds, while 80 [percent] of the departments that did receive money cooperated with ICE, court records show.

But Sessions’ new funding rules violated the separation of powers laid out in the constitution, Judge Manuel Real ruled last week. Tying funds to cooperation with ICE improperly forced local agents to participate in immigration enforcement — which is the job of the federal government — and “upset the constitutional balance between state and federal power by requiring state and local law enforcement to partner with federal authorities,” Real wrote in his decision.

“This is a complete victory,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who challenged Sessions’ funding tweak in federal court last year, said during a press conference last week, as reported by the Times. “This is yet another dagger in the heart of the administration’s efforts to use federal funds as a weapon to make local jurisdictions complicit in its civil immigration enforcement policies.”

A Justice Department spokesperson, meanwhile, called the ruling “overbroad and inconsistent with the rule of law,” according to the paper.

Los Angeles’ sanctuary policies — which have been emulated by other California cities since President Trump took office — are primarily motivated by the fear that residents will stop reporting crimes because of their immigration status, as Next City has covered. Last month, Sessions announced that he would sue California over three new statewide sanctuary laws, which limit the ability of state employees in assisting ICE.

Real’s nationwide ruling is an obvious blow to Sessions — but it won’t retroactively award funding to COPS hopefuls denied funding last year, according to the Times. It could, however, give sanctuary cities an edge going forward.

Still, the federal program doesn’t exactly have a perfect record.

“Despite some well-documented successes, even proponents of community policing are hesitant to call the COPS program a sweeping success,” Christopher Moraff reported for Next City several years ago. “The … shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the response it elicited reflect the stark rift that continues to divide many urban law enforcement agencies from the constituents they are sworn to protect.”

Mike Brown, of course, has been followed by Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and Stephon Clark, among many others, and critics continue to caution that “community policing” can too easily become a feel-good buzzword.

“I’ve had police chiefs ask me what’s the minimum they can do to get this money,” Bruce Benson, who advises departments on establishing COP programs, told Moraff. “We’d have police departments host community picnics where they hand out hot dogs and soda to people and call it community policing, but once all those hot dogs are handed out, it’s back to traditional policing practices.”


Pittsburgh Unveils its Fair Housing Gameplan

(Photo by Dr. Cash via Flickr)

In 2013, Pittsburgh assembled a task force to assess barriers to fair housing and create recommendations for overcoming them. On Wednesday — the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act — the group unveiled a comprehensive series of draft recommendations, including increased legal assistance for renters facing eviction and inclusionary zoning.

“Today is an historic day for Pittsburgh and also for our nation,” said Carlos Torres, executive director of the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The 15 proposals range from upping education and training around fair housing issues to zoning changes, like raising the city’s residential occupancy limit, to mandatory inclusionary zoning. In Pittsburgh, that nationwide buzz term would mean requiring developers building new housing to include a certain percentage of affordable units, according to the Post-Gazette.

In 2016, CityLab reported that Pittsburgh was considered one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. — but that “affordability” wasn’t equally distributed, and certainly didn’t apply to the 17,241 households earning less than 50 percent the city’s median income. And gentrification has hit the city hard. Like so many U.S. cities, redlining led to disinvestment in Pittsburgh neighborhoods housing people of color, and then around 2000, private equity investors began seeking out those same neighborhoods for flips and luxury developments. The East Liberty area is a prime example.

But mandating inclusionary zoning could be tricky. Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday that he had not yet seen the proposals, but told the Post-Gazette that any such measure would have “to be done at the [neighborhood] level,” and couldn’t be enacted city-wide.

“You have to work with what is in the legal purview of a property owner in the state of Pennsylvania,” he added.

And the legality of inclusionary zoning in Pittsburgh really depends on how such policy — and its goals — are framed, as has covered. While Pennsylvania (unlike, say, Georgia or Texas) doesn’t currently have any kind of preemption law around rent control or linkage fees, builders and developers in other states have tried to block inclusionary zoning ordinances as unlawful “exactions,” or requirements that local governments impose before approving a developer’s land-use permit.

“It would be very difficult for the city to prove in court that a developer’s new market-rate housing in the south side somehow has a direct effect on the problem of rising rents and lack of affordable units in Lawrenceville,” reports. “If there is no direct connection, then courts that view the policy as an exaction will likely find the requirement to build affordable units on-site or off-site to be unreasonable.”

In other words, the city, likely afraid of state-level legal action, is being cautious. In Philadelphia, a proposal to create a mandatory inclusionary housing policy last June was widely opposed by the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia (BIA) and pulled before it went up for a vote. The city eventually struck a compromise with local developers, and released a proposal yesterday featuring a 1-percent tax on construction costs and a set of new zoning bonuses to encourage, rather than mandate, more affordable units.


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