Housing Policies Outline


Berkeley is in the midst of a severe housing crisis that demands fundamental policy shifts. Fueled by a worsening regional housing shortfall, prices in Berkeley and across the region have climbed to record highs. Berkeley can't solve this crisis alone, but that does not relieve us of our responsibility to do our part by producing more market-rate and affordable housing. If we do not act, Berkeley may very well lose its cultural and economic diversity.

Berkeley’s policy platform includes the following topics and statements that encapsulate our vision for Berkeley’s efforts to address the housing crisis:

Transit-Oriented Development. Promote dense housing in areas with good access to jobs, transit, and other amenities.

Housing Diversity. Encourage a variety of housing types to accommodate households at different life stages and income levels.

Streamlined Process. Reduce or eliminate regulatory obstacles to housing creation.

Affordable Housing. Leverage new incentives, funding, and policy mechanisms to promote creation and retention of low- and middle-income housing.

Accessory Dwelling Units. Make it easy for homeowners to add accessory dwelling units in areas with good transit access.

We hope that Berkeley will act as a regional leader, helping to foster the collective action necessary to make housing more plentiful and affordable. Livable Berkeley encourages the City to heed these statements and adopt supportive policy proposals that draw from our more specific recommendations.

Transit-Oriented Development

  • Increase density along key corridors.
  • Pursue new housing at underdeveloped BART stations.
  • Tap into the potential of West Berkeley.

Housing Diversity

  • Implement Transitional Zoning as a buffer between higher and lower density.
  • Incentivize additional ownership housing.
  • Provide opportunities for entry-level housing.
  • Encourage micro units and cooperative living.

Streamlined Process

  • Accelerate the production of housing.
  • Eliminate lengthy and unnecessary discretionary processes.
  • Establish by-right zoning provisions.
  • Shorten historical and design review processes.

Affordable Housing

  • Implement incentives for additional low- and middle-income housing.
  • Deploy creative land use mechanisms to create affordable housing.
  • Pursue an affordable housing bond.
  • Encourage new student housing.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

  • Expand the geographic scope of the City’s ADU policies.
  • Adopt responsive design standards to permit larger ADUs.