CZI’s housing research portfolio aims to equip advocates, policymakers, and practitioners with actionable insights and data on housing challenges and solutions.
Lessons for the Narrative Curious: CZI's Emergent Approach to Narrative Investments
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Housing Affordability program is dedicated to improving housing affordability and access so people from all backgrounds and income levels can live, work, and thrive in California. Shifting the narrative—how people view, think and talk about housing—is a critical aspect of this work.
“Lessons for the Narrative Curious,” details CZI’s evolving approach to resourcing narrative work to build public support for housing reform in California. In this brief, we offer our early reflections, learnings, and questions as a stepping stone for fellow funders at various stages of their own narrative change efforts.
The Bay Area to Central Valley Migration and Its Impacts
The Bay Area to Central Valley Migration and Its Impacts project examines the extent and impact of migration from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley region. Conducted by the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC, UC Davis Center for Regional Change, and Occidental College,the impacts measured and discussed in this report include changes in population and demographics, transportation, housing, and local municipal finance. Included in the report are a range of policy recommendations, focused on streamlining housing permitting near transportation corridors in the megaregion, providing near-term renter relief, and supporting or even requiring megaregion planning in ways that go beyond the geographic scale of existing state policy. A unifying theme in the policy recommendations is the need for the state government to support integrated housing and transportation planning at a scale that spans the many municipalities, counties, and metropolitan planning organizations in the Northern California Megaregion.
“Migration out of the Bay Area boils down to a matter of social class. Those who are low-income or “working class people are being pushed out” — in many cases these same individuals are leaving California altogether in search of a more affordable place to live.”
The California Dream Message Research and Toolkit
A rigorous, three-year research process has resulted in a useful toolkit for California’s housing advocates: a broad, unifying narrative that is effective at engaging the wide range of Californians who hold divergent values and attitudes and moving them toward housing solutions.
Data-driven message research can help build support for housing solutions for our shared future. Together we can build communities where people from different incomes, beliefs, and backgrounds can live, work, and create together.
California Zoning Atlas
In the four largest metropolitan regions, 75% or more of residential land is exclusively reserved for single-family housing. Othering and Belonging Institute’s California Zoning Atlas is an ongoing project to produce zoning maps and analyses for every region and municipality in the state of California. The goals of this project are, firstly, to document with greater precision than before, and raise public awareness of, the extent of single-family-only and other restrictive zoning for each city and region in the state; secondly, to show how that zoning affects life outcomes of the residents of those cities; thirdly, to provide researchers, scholars, advocates and policymakers with freely and publicly accessible data and maps that they can use to study zoning; and fourthly, to motivate zoning and land use reforms at the local and state level.
Comprehensive Assessment of Land Use Entitlements Study (CALES)
The Comprehensive Assessment of Land Use Entitlements Study (CALES) led by University of California, Berkeley and University of Virginia analyzes how cities approve (and sometimes delay) new multi-family housing using granular local-level housing planning, zoning, and development approval data. CALES combines zoning analysis, a unique dataset on approvals, and interviews to understand how cities and counties apply land use regulation. CALES explores whether current regulation and planning practices support climate and fair housing policy. The unique dataset continues to offer many applied analyses, including recent exploration of the direct effects of Senate Bill 35 in several cities. Past analyses that have shaped recent policy creation and enforcement efforts across the state are available on the Partnership for Land Use Insights website.
Education Workforce Housing
cityLAB, the Center for Cities + Schools at UC Berkeley, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, and the California School Boards Association (CSBA) collaborated together on a research report on education workforce housing — and the steps Local Education Agencies (LEAs) can take to produce more housing for the education workforce by leveraging underutilized schools lands. The inventory analysis, along with in-depth case studies and interviews, highlighted the need for transparent and early community engagement and offered recommendations for how state agencies and other partners can help, including by increasing land use flexibility and streamlining approvals processes and by building LEAs’ capacities. Following this report, policies such as AB 2295 have been passed that remove key barriers to building affordable housing on school land. CSBA has also continued on to offer access to technical assistance for its members working on education workforce housing in their communities.
“As community landowners, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) have a unique advantage in the affordable housing development process. There are more than 150,000 acres of land owned by LEAs all across California. According to our analysis, there are 7,068 properties with potentially developable land of one acre or more, totaling 75,000 acres statewide. This is about the size of five Manhattans.”
New Pathways to Encourage Housing Production: A Review of California’s Recent Housing Legislation
Restrictive zoning and high development costs — such as labor, materials, development impact fees, and stringent building code requirements — continue to impede housing development in California. Since 2017, the State of California has adopted over 100 new laws designed to increase housing production. Most of these laws have been focused on incentivizing local governments to approve more housing and expedite housing approval processes. This report provides an overview of California’s housing system, catalogs recent housing legislation, and summarizes themes from interviews with stakeholders across the state.
SPUR: Through research, education and advocacy, SPUR works to create an equitable, sustainable and prosperous region. SPUR’s policy agenda focuses on strategies to reduce the cost of building housing to make it more affordable for everyone, provide low- and middle-income residents with homes they can afford to prevent displacement, and use housing as a tool for closing the racial wealth gap and leverage public investment to support wealth creation for low-income households.
Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Terner Center: The mission of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley is to formulate bold strategies to house families from all walks of life in vibrant, sustainable, and affordable homes and communities by identifying, developing, and advancing innovative public and private sector solutions to the nation’s most intractable housing challenges. Their work approaches housing affordability issues through three key lenses of housing supply, access to quality, affordable homes, and promoting innovation in the housing sector.
Urban Institute: The Urban Institute’s housing and land use work assesses housing affordability and access, evaluates housing programs and impacts on people’s well-being, and helps decision makers ground land-use laws, policies, and practices in research and evidence. Through key projects like the Renters and Rental Market Crisis Working Group and Land Use Lab at Urban, Urban proposes strategies to help the people and places most in need and redress the harms of structural racism in housing markets.
CZI is pleased to support five research studies focused on community ownership and preservation of unsubsidized affordable housing, through our inaugural Housing Research Request for Applications in 2022. These projects were informed by the priorities and interest areas of stakeholders across the housing ecosystem, including policy and advocacy organizations, researchers, and community based organizations. We envision preservation and production of affordable housing through mission-aligned property owners and community ownership groups as a key priority that can lead to better resident outcomes and transform the landscape of how housing is financed, built, and owned. These research projects will build evidence for our partners working on these efforts in the field, and we anticipate that learnings will include insights into the feasibility and benefits of these housing ownership structures and strategies for scaling these models.
Breaking up the NOAH Monolith
This research project produced by The Preservation Compact at the Community Investment Corporation – Chicago and the Institute for Housing Studies at Depaul University seeks to address information gaps and facilitate the development of a national NOAH (Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing) preservation community of practice. This would be done by examining the different types of NOAH markets across the U.S. and studying how different preservation strategies interact with local market dynamics in cities across the country, creating lessons on how preservation strategies can best be implemented. The research will include an analysis of different market conditions and preservation strategies across dozens of U.S. cities to create a peer city segmentation, and will use this analysis to identify and engage with a cohort of NOAH practitioners from cities representing different NOAH market types to gather best practices. The outcomes of the research will include 1) Creating a web-based NOAH clearinghouse, using the NOAH market typology to match NOAH preservation strategies to their most relevant local market contexts, and develop case studies on key NOAH markets; 2) Coordinating a NOAH summit to facilitate a series of discussions and opportunities for engagement to unpack challenges, explore policy topics, and produce policy frameworks that reflect the different market, building, and owner contexts.
System Changes and Partnerships for Scaling Community Ownership
This research produced from the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley will look at necessary changes and partnerships to scale community ownership, with a focus on the Bay Area. The proposed project focuses on the bridge between the barriers facing community-owned entities, the ecosystem-wide shifts needed to advance equitable housing outcomes at scale, and the opportunities for public agencies to establish new policies and financing mechanisms that can drive these forms of systems change. This project will investigate these topics and develop recommendations through a community-based, mixed-methods research project that centers the needs and visions of BIPOC-led housing organizations.
The Impact of Ownership Type and Scale on Habitability and Affordability in the Multifamily Rental Market of California’s Largest Cities
This research project is a collaboration between Occidental College, USC Price School of Public Policy, and Enterprise Community Partners and studies the relationship between housing ownership type and scale, unit habitability, and neighborhood affordability across California’s major cities. This project will measure how small owners (defined here as owners with 5 or fewer units) differ from larger, corporate owners on habitability, by examining the number of code and rent control violations, evictions, foreclosures, and renovations at the property level. At the neighborhood level, the project will examine how shifts away from small, non-corporate owners have influenced rental affordability and property turnover.