Population and Housing Projections for University Heights: Fact or Fiction?

Growth is inevitable in University Heights and people will need places to live. The question is how much will UH grow and where and how will new housing be built?

The City relies on the population and housing projections of SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) to project housing needs as part of the General Plan and the Community Plan Updates.

However, according to a recent article in the Voice of San Diego, SANDAG isn’t very good at predicting population growth. “Since 1990, they’ve consistently predicted far more growth than we’ve experienced.”

The article continues, “In 2000, for instance, SANDAG projected the region would add nearly 400,000 new people by 2010. Instead, the population grew by just 280,000 people. The agency overestimated actual growth by 43 percent.”

Population and Housing Growth in UH: Actual vs. Projected

University Heights encompasses 4 Census Tracts, which comprise about 75% of the population and housing units in UH.

UH Census Tract MapAccording to the 2010 Census, the population in these 4 census tracts grew about 25% in the the 40 years from 1970 to 2010. SANDAG projects that the population will grow another 43% in the 40 years from 2010 to 2050.

UH Population Chart_1950-2050Likewise, housing units in these 4 census tracts grew about 41% in the previous 40 years, and SANDAG projects another 38% growth in housing units in these tracts over the next 40 years.

UH Housing Chart_1950-2050Bonus Density Program: Based on What?

If the Density Bonus Plan proposed by the City is approved, housing units could increase in University Heights by up to 60% from 2010 to 2050. The City is proposing a density bonus all along Park Blvd. in UH from Adams Avenue to Lincoln Avenue, which would allow additional density on top of what is already allowed in the June 2015 land use maps for UH. This would affect approximately 14 blocks along Park Blvd. and allow another 2,000 housing units in UH.

If SANDAG projects only a 38% increase in housing units in UH from 2010 to 2050, a 60% increase makes no sense. This isn’t NIMBYism—it’s a rational questioning of numbers that make no sense.

Take Action

If this doesn’t make sense to you either, please let the City know. The community at large has until October 5, 2015 to provide comments to the City on the proposed community plan updates for North Park and Uptown, which include University Heights. Please click here to take action.