This article looks at the barriers to dealing with California’s housing shortage and addressing climate change which are built into the existing regulations that govern development across the state. The history of planning and building codes is examined, showing that contrary to popular belief many of these rules were not implemented for health and safety reasons, but rather to boost property values by promoting economic and racial segregation. The article argues that the only way to deal with California’s current challenges is to start over with a new set of regulations that promote denser development at lower cost and steer the state away from building more automobile-dependent sprawl.

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