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The Surprising Left-Right Alliance That Wants More Apartments in Suburbs

·2 mins

For years, an annual conference known as Yimbytown brought together like-minded urban professionals to discuss the challenges faced by cities with a high concentration of liberal young professionals. The conference focused on issues such as inadequate bike lanes, limited public transportation, and strict zoning laws. Started in 2016 in Boulder, Colorado, this event aimed to create more inclusive neighborhoods and denser housing developments.

This year’s Yimbytown conference, held at the University of Texas at Austin in February, saw a surprising change in its crowd and atmosphere. In addition to the usual vegan lunches and tags displaying preferred pronouns, the conference embraced a new group previously unwelcome: red-state Republicans.

The conference’s first day featured a speech by Greg Gianforte, the Republican governor of Montana, who discussed the positive impact of changing zoning laws. Gianforte’s housing package in Montana, referred to by the YIMBY movement as ’the Montana Miracle,’ was highlighted. The second day began with a panel discussing solutions to rising housing costs in Texas, where a Republican legislator advocated for loosening land-use regulations and a near-total ban on abortions.

The bipartisan nature of the conference also became evident in other panels and discussions. For instance, Republican housing reformers from Arizona and Montana engaged in conversations with a Democratic state senator from Vermont. The conference’s list of sponsors included foundations and conservative and libertarian organizations, further reflecting the diverse nature of the event.

(Note: This version of the article does not include any names or specific sources.)