Big Backyards and Pools Are California’s Past. Apartment Buildings Are Its Future

You don’t need to be a Nobel physicist to figure the direction California must go to solve its acute housing shortage — up. Stop expanding sideways and become more like New York City — and less like us.

Those words are painful to write for a native Californian who grew up on a small orange ranch in Ojai and worships wide-open spaces. But it’s inevitable.
The California ranch-house lifestyle — founded on sunshine and ample backyard space for a pool — has become increasingly unaffordable for middle-class families in urban areas where most jobs exist. Living space has tightened and become impossibly pricey for too many.

It was wonderful when our population was only 12 million in the 1950s and 22 million in the 1970s. But now we’re at 40 million and headed to 50 million by 2050. For many, the economics of supply and demand are making the California Dream a nightmare.

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