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Why It’s So Hard to Build in Liberal States

Produced by ‘The Ezra Klein Show’

There is so much we need to build right now. The housing crunch has spread across the country; by one estimate, we’re a few million units short. And we also need a huge build-out of renewable energy infrastructure — at a scale some experts compare to the construction of the Interstate highway system.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” on the NYT Audio App, Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

And yet, we’re not seeing anything close to the level of building that we need — even in the blue states and cities where housing tends to be more expensive and where politicians and voters purport to care about climate change and affordable housing.

Jerusalem Demsas is a staff writer at The Atlantic who obsesses over these questions as much as I do. In this conversation, she takes me through some of her reporting on local disputes that block or hinder projects, and what they say about the issues plaguing development in the country at large. We discuss how well-intentioned policies evolved into a Kafka-esque system of legal and bureaucratic hoops and delays; how clashes over development reveal a generational split in the environmental movement; and what it would take to cut decades of red tape.

You can listen to our whole conversation by following “The Ezra Klein Show” on the NYT Audio App, Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts. View a list of book recommendations from our guests here.

(A full transcript of this episode will be available within 24 hours of publication in the audio player above.)

Credit…Courtesy of Jerusalem Demsas

This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris with Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

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