Richard Florida: Density’s Next Frontier Is the Suburbs


Accessory dwelling unit in a suburban neighborhood. Credit: Radcliffe Dacanay, Flickr.


“In a recent survey, America’s mayors named housing, and housing affordability, as the number-one problem facing their cities,” begins Richard Florida in his article Density’s Next Frontier: The Suburbs. Florida, discussing urban housing economist Issi Romem’s report, suggests that an unexplored solution to the housing affordability problem lies in single-family home suburbs.

Suburbs have room to adapt their zoning codes, argues Florida, in ways that can equitably and sustainably distribute a growing population to ease the pressure of rising housing prices, stem gentrification in the inner cores of cities, and tame unsustainable sprawl in outer suburban rings.

Florida cites a California housing bill proposal that eliminates single-family zoning near high-frequency transit stops, driving the creation of missing middle housing. As demonstrated in the growing popularity of accessory dwelling units across the country, “missing middle housing” is catching on as a way to address both affordability and the need to increase density to levels that make transit and walking to destinations more viable.

For the full article: Density’s Next Frontier: The Suburbs