It's interesting how the story is set up. There's no contention that "Boulder's charms" are undesirable. It's simply that these "charms" stand in the way of equality, and should therefore be destroyed.
The small city of Boulder, home to the University of Colorado’s flagship campus, has a booming local economy and a pleasantly compact downtown with mountain views. Not surprisingly, a lot of people want to move here.
Something else is also not surprising: Many of the people who already live in Boulder would prefer that the newcomers settle somewhere else.
“The quality of the experience of being in Boulder, part of it has to do with being able to go to this meadow and it isn’t just littered with human beings,” said Steve Pomerance, a former city councilman who moved here from Connecticut in the 1960s.
All of Boulder’s charms are under threat, Mr. Pomerance said as he concluded an hourlong tour. Rush-hour traffic has become horrendous. Quaint, two-story storefronts are being dwarfed by glass and steel. Cars park along the road to the meadow.
These days, you can find a Steve Pomerance in cities across the country — people who moved somewhere before it exploded and now worry that growth is killing the place they love.
But a growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy.
[How Anti-Growth Sentiment, Reflected in Zoning Laws, Thwarts Equality, by Conor Dougherty, July 3, 2016]
It has even to some extent changed how Americans of different incomes view opportunity. Unlike past decades, when people of different socioeconomic backgrounds tended to move to similar areas, today, less-skilled workers often go where jobs are scarcer but housing is cheap, instead of heading to places with the most promising job opportunities, according to research by Daniel Shoag, a professor of public policy at Harvard, and Peter Ganong, also of Harvard.It's almost like importing a massive population has the effect of deflating labor prices, increasing competition for jobs, and increasing housing costs. But instead, what we're going to do is make it even more difficult for livable communities to continue to exist.
[W]hen zoning laws get out of hand, economists say, the damage to the American economy and society can be profound. Studies have shown that laws aimed at things like “maintaining neighborhood character” or limiting how many unrelated people can live together in the same house contribute to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They also exacerbate inequality by restricting the housing supply in places where demand is greatest.
Think for a moment about the actual consequences of this. If such laws were abolished, it would mean living in a neighborhood where every house is packed with poor laborers, as already exist in certain neighborhoods. Property values would decline. School quality would decline. Of course, once property values have sufficiently declined, people will essentially be "trapped" in the neighborhood.
The lost opportunities for development may theoretically reduce the output of the United States economy by as much as $1.5 trillion a year, according to estimates in a recent paper by the economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti. Regardless of the actual gains in dollars that could be achieved if zoning laws were significantly cut back, the research on land-use restrictions highlights some of the consequences of giving local communities too much control over who is allowed to live there.
“You don’t want rules made entirely for people that have something, at the expense of people who don’t,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Read: You don't want rules which benefit middle class people when wealthy people can make even more money by bulldozing their communities and turning them into slums.
Looking to slow the pace of development, last year a citizens’ group called Livable Boulder — Mr. Pomerance was involved in the effort — pushed a pair of local ballot measures that would have increased fees on new development and given neighborhood groups a vote on zoning changes in their area.
Will Toor, Boulder’s former mayor, who worked for the “no” campaign, said, “You would never build affordable housing, you would never build community facilities like homeless shelters — those things would just never happen if you had all veto power at the neighborhood level.”
It's almost like people don't support policies designed to support "equality" when they have to pay the cost.
The upside of this campaign is Boulder is a famously leftist city and overwhelmingly White. The former may change if the federal government starts making noise about the changing the latter situation.
Of course, an easier way to preserve self-government, increase wages, decrease housing costs, and decrease pressures for development would be to stop immigration. But as you've probably guessed, the word "immigration" was not even mentioned in the article.