Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

January 2006


Reproduced from Housing Policy Debate, Volume 17, Issue 4, 2006, pages 681-726.

NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Dr. John Landis was affiliated with the University of California. Currently, November 2007, he is a faculty member in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.


This article presents a methodology for using county tax assessor records and other geographic information system and secondary source data to develop realistic estimates of community, county, and statewide infill housing potential in California. We first identify the number, acreage, average size, and spatial distribution of vacant and potentially redevelopable parcels within three types of infill counting areas. We then develop a schema for determining appropriate infill housing densities based on transit service availability, local land use mix and character, and initial neighborhood densities.

We use this schema to generate local, county, and statewide estimates of infill housing potential. These are then carefully evaluated in terms of their parcel size and financial feasibility, the likelihood that construction will displace existing low-income renters, and the contribution to cumulative overdevelopment. We conclude with a brief discussion of state-level policy changes that would reduce barriers to market-led infill housing construction.



Date Posted: 26 November 2007