Spend any time trying to untangle the Gordian knot of urban housing costs and you’ll quickly encounter two groups claiming to hold the scissors: the YIMBYs and the Georgists. YIMBYs (‘Yes-In-My-Back-Yard’) argue that cutting land use regulations (’upzoning’) will boost housing construction and improve affordability; while Georgists believe we should shift the tax base onto land, to punish the speculative under-use of urban lots and stimulate the supply of homes. While many folks agree with both positions and there is much overlap between the two groups, they sometimes lob criticisms at one another and often vie for primacy in the housing discourse.
In this article, I will argue that both upzoning and land value tax are absolutely necessary if we want to fix our cities. I’ll explain why they are natural allies in the fight against landed interests, and demonstrate that they are so much better together. All urbanists should adopt both as a core tenet of their advocacy.
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