Asheville Is in Crisis
The city faces a severe problem of unaffordability and scarcity of housing. Our service workers, gig workers, educators, artists, and musicians can’t live near where they serve the needs of Asheville’s residents. Young people that have grown up in Asheville are now finding that they are shut out of their own neighborhoods. And as only the well-heeled can afford to rent or own in the city, those demographics that lack generational wealth, including Asheville’s Black population, are seeing their population numbers decline.
The Solution to Scarcity Is Abundance
Living in Asheville shouldn’t be a zero-sum competition. We don’t need to pit old-timers versus new comers and immigrants. And we don’t need to turn our backs on the houseless and precarious among us.
We reject the politics of division, the ideas that come from those in town that claim “I’ve got mine.” And we reject the idea that Asheville needs to be frozen in a moment in time. Its strict “exclusionary zoning” codes are the product of an era of segregation, designed to favor only the wealthy and the white. And its land use patterns recall a time when planners thought oil would flow forever.
We can have homes in Asheville for everyone that needs one, and this means embracing housing abundance: understanding that single-family homes, duplexes, quadplexes, row houses, townhomes, condominiums, and apartment complexes all have the potential to add to the city’s character, appeal, and measures of equity; by making it more lively, livable, sustainable, diverse, and welcoming.
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Asheville For All’s Three Pillars for Housing Abundance and Diverse, Sustainable Communities
Eliminate Status Quo Barriers
Exclusionary zoning (aka single family zoning), parking minimums, and other rules favor the status quo and intentionally make it difficult for builders to build the places where people need to live. Creating various types of housing should be allowed “by right” based on the ability of such housing to foster vibrant, walkable, sustainable, and livable communities.
Fund Affordable Housing
City, county, and state governments should do their part to guarantee housing as a human right, and especially should build or subsidize new income-restricted and/or social housing in locations with easy access to jobs, transit, and amenities.
Housing and Transportation Go Hand in Hand
Transit and housing are linked, and the problems with one won’t be solved without addressing the challenges of the other. Asheville should have more and better multi-modal transit options, and the city should favor transit-oriented development (“TOD”) for sustainable, livable neighborhoods.