As unique as it is, Evanston shares a problem with most other university towns--non-student households don't want groups of students living in their neighborhoods. The obvious solution would be to create physically separate housing options for students and non-students.
However, instead, the university expects the housing market to absorb the student population organically, regardless of the conflicts this is creating. On the other side, people in the single-family neighborhoods are desperately trying to establish rules that ban shared student housing, even if those rules restrict housing flexibility for anyone else in the community who needs to share housing.
Joining Forces feels that both sides are wrong. The real solution is to create enough rental housing and position it throughout the City so that different types of households can have a choice of housing that meets their needs without infringing on each other's lifestyles.
How to Make This Happen
Joining Forces has several ideas for how the City and NWU can work together to start an effort to create more student-suitable housing:
In the Meantime
Increasing the supply of housing is a long-term project, and people living near the university are looking for solutions now. Here are some ideas we think should be considered as the long-term solution is being implemented--instead of keeping or imposing restrictive zoning:
Last, assuming that residents living near the university will continue to advocate for restrictive zoning, we hope that the City will make sure that any restrictions that are imposed are tied to a requirement that the City and NWU address the shortage of student housing within a given time frame and limit how long the restrictions can stay in place whether or not the student housing goals are met.
Leave a Reply.