Day: December 7, 2020

Northern News December 2020-January 2021

Northern News December 2020-January 2021

Northern News


A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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Northern Section news, views, and announcements

Planning news roundup

Northern Section counties receive over $543 million for transportation projects

By Jasmine Lee, Daily Californian, December 7, 2020. State funding will support multi-modal transportation infrastructure, including BART upgrades.

Housing measure puts San Mateo in production quandary

By Sarah Klearman, CP&DR, December 6, 2020. San Mateo voters narrowly extended existing height and density caps, potentially precluding a push for more housing.

Richmond council approves controversial shoreline mixed-use project

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, December 3, 2020. The state has approved a site remediation plan, but activists and residents want a more thorough removal of soil.

‘Overdue’ ordinance requires SF landords to report vacancies

By CBS SF Bay Area, December 3, 2020. Vacancy data may be used to reduce speculation on rental units.

West Coast cottage reforms lead to explosive rise in permits

By Nisma Gabobe, Sightline Institute, December 2, 2020. In 2018 and 2019, cities across the West Coast successfully promoted accessory dwelling unit reforms to address the housing crisis.

Livermore development fight over new major solar farm

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2020. Livermore’s experience could become more common as California pursues 100 percent zero-carbon electricity.

San Francisco, trade unions at odds over modular construction

By J.K. Dineen, The San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2020. Trade leaders argue that cutting housing costs should not sacrifice workers’ wages.

Ambitious Sonoma Coast project paves way for ‘managed retreat’

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2020. A Bay Area glimpse into the future for other coastal communities facing sea-level rise.

Do California ag counties hold solutions to Monterey County farmworker housing crisis?

By Kate Cimini, Salinas Californian, November 23, 2020. As farmworkers and their families dangerously overcrowd available housing, California’s coastal counties look to streamline production of safer housing.

ABAG launches energy evaluation tool for climate action planning

From ABAG, November 19, 2020. The tool uses one of the largest sets of disaggregated building energy data available in the nation.

Audit slams California for wasting billions in bonds

By Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside, November 19, 2020. The sweeping audit uncovered mismanaged and lapsed funds that could have supported affordable housing.

An overview of historical reports on HUD User

An overview of historical reports on HUD User

From HUD User, November 17, 2020 

A collection of 1,750 scanned historical reports and archived publications is now available to the public on 

Since its creation as a HUD office in 1973, the Office of Policy Develop­ment and Re­search (PD&R) has sponsored and dis­sem­i­nated ground­break­ing research. Among PD&R’s first tasks was mar­shal­ing the work of econ­o­mists to an­alyze exist­ing hous­ing sub­sidy pro­grams, design­ing evalua­tion processes for new pro­grams, and developing the Annual Housing Survey — an effort to collect data on demographics, income, tenure, rent and mortgage payments, utility costs, and housing conditions from a sample of housing units and occupants. PD&R has continued to pursue a mix of housing studies, technology research, program evaluations, surveys, demonstrations, and other types of research, amassing a substantial archive of reports and documents with ongoing relevance. In addition to this trove of research, PD&R serves as the custodian of housing documents that predate PD&R and even HUD itself. 

Now PD&R reports that initially were available only in print as well as the historic documents are available through the Historical and Archived Reports database at, providing the public with access to original reports and research. The collection includes 1,750 scanned historical reports and archived publications that address a range of topics and originate from a similarly eclectic body of sources, from long-defunct international conferences to still-extant local government divisions. HUD librarian Eric Erickson described the document preservation efforts in a July 2020 PD&R Edge article. 

The oldest records in the archive date back to 1910: a copy of How to Know Architecture: The Human Elements in the Evolution of Styles by Frank E. Wallis and “The Housing Awakening,” a collection of essays about slums in the United States from the National Housing Association. Records from the 1920s include papers of the then-biennial International Housing and Town Planning Congress. And beginning with the “First Annual Report of the Federal Housing Administration” in 1935, the archives contain each subsequent Federal Housing Administration (FHA) annual report through FHA’s merger with HUD in the 1960s. 

The collection offers records of interest not only to academics and researchers in the fields of architecture, planning, demography, and other topics of scholarly inquiry but also to laypeople seeking insight into the lives of the people of the past. For example, in the 1951 publication Housing Preferences of Farm Families in The Northeast, Cornell University researcher James E. Montgomery provides detailed insight into the typical characteristics of farmhouses in this region at that time and the extent to which their occupants found them satisfactory or wanting. In the 1960 research report National Housing Policies Since World War II: a Comparison of Sweden, West Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States, Paul F. Wendt offers a European perspective on mid-century housing policy, which may be useful to policy-minded users today. 

Many of the documents in the archive are entries in serial publications. Some, such as HUD’s four-volume guide for participants in the 1970 Operation Breakthrough home construction technology demonstration project, have been preserved in the archive in their entirety. Others, such as the late-1930s series of more than 50 technical digests by the National Bureau of Standards in the U.S. Department of Commerce, are only partially present, with a small number of missing installments. 

PD&R invites readers to explore the wealth of documents in the archives for insight into how housing conditions and policies have changed over time and how lessons from the past can inform policies today. 

The original article is here. 

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