Over 80,000 people commute into Ann Arbor every day. This daily surge increases traffic congestion and causes massive amounts of carbon emissions. It is also the symptom of a huge housing shortage that has spiked rents and home sale prices. To address this systemic problem, I introduced measures to build more housing near employment centers and transit corridors.
Rent is often the largest single expense a household faces. In Michigan, the two most direct means to increase housing affordability – inclusionary zoning and rent control – are illegal. That leaves communities with three key pillars to make housing more attainable: Incentives, Direct Subsidy, and Housing Supply. Through other projects, I worked to improve incentives and create responsible subsidies. However, housing supply has failed to keep up with massive demand.
Over the last 20 years, the University of Michigan has increased enrollment by 10,000 students. On top of that, 12,000 new jobs have been created in town. This increase in population and workforce has created the largest increase in demand for housing in Ann Arbor's history. However, in those same 20 years, only about 8,000 bedrooms of housing have been constructed. That means 22,000 new students and jobs competing for only 8,000 new beds. As a result, Ann Arbor has become the least affordable city in Michigan with average rents rising 16% each year.
To respond, I introduced measures that would increase the supply of housing near employment centers and transit corridors. This increase in housing supply would take pressure off a very tight market, reducing rents in other areas over time. Additionally, centering housing around jobs and bus routes will incentivize people to live closer to their employers, decreasing the length of commutes thus reducing congestion and emissions.
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