San Diego, like many cities in the United States, is facing a housing crisis. In an effort to increase the number of available homes, the city is turning to increased density, changing zoning laws to allow for mixed-use properties, and even passing state policies like SB9 to allow for up to four units on each parcel of land. However, as the city moves towards a more dense future, some are worried that the American dream of a single-family home may be dying.
With a limited amount of buildable land left in San Diego, city officials are turning to more dense housing solutions. For example, the Mira Mesa community plan has been updated to allow for 24,000 new homes, with the vision of a more mixed-use area where residential properties sit above storefronts and restaurants. University City is another area that has recently changed zoning laws to allow for more homes, with plans to increase the number of homes by 35,000 to 56,000. While these new properties are still homes, they are not the traditional single-family home that many people are looking for.
While increased density may be a solution to the housing crisis, it also poses challenges to infrastructure. Transportation, in particular, is a problem in San Diego. Public transportation is limited and does not even include a stop at the airport. Private transportation is also an issue, with the city's streets and highways becoming more and more congested. Even bike lanes, while a good idea in theory, can have a negative effect if they take away driving lanes in already congested areas.
As San Diego's housing crisis worsens, so does its homelessness crisis. Homelessness has increased in San Diego County, and it’s especially apparent in several cities where tents and makeshift structures fill sidewalks, canyons, and freeway offramps. In downtown San Diego alone, there are over 2,000 homeless people without permanent shelters. Some worry that increased density will only exacerbate this issue, as more high-density areas could lead to more homelessness.
Despite these challenges, there are some benefits to increased density and mixed-use living. Little Italy is a prime example of a mixed-use area, with residential properties sitting above storefronts and restaurants in a fun, walkable area. With a limited amount of buildable land left in San Diego, mixed-use areas like this may be the key to a more sustainable future.
The future of housing in San Diego is uncertain, but it is clear that something needs to be done to address the city's housing crisis. Increased density and mixed-use properties may be the solution, but city officials must also consider the infrastructure challenges and potential for increased homelessness that come with this approach. Only time will tell if San Diego can find a way to provide affordable, sustainable housing for all its residents.
As always, if you’re looking to buy or sell a house in San Diego or any of the surrounding communities, our team would love to help! Reach out to book a discovery session: a 30-minute free Zoom consultation where we share our expertise to figure out the opportunities relevant for you.
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