Obama Takes on Zoning Laws in Bid to Build More Housing, Spur Growth

President Obama (AP Photo)
The Obama administration is calling on cities and counties to rethink their zoning laws, saying that antiquated rules on construction, housing and land use are contributing to high rents and income inequality, and dragging down the U.S. economy as a whole. The White House published a “toolkit” of economic evidence and policy fixes to help local political leaders fight back against the NIMBYs that tend to hold sway over municipal zoning meetings. Read more... Read more

How to Best Use Zoning Policies to Spur Workforce Housing Development

economics-inclusionary-development
The potential and limitations associated with inclusionary zoning, a tool used by a growing number of U.S. cities to encourage or require workforce housing development, are explored in a new ULI report, The Economics of Inclusionary Zoning. This report shows how inclusionary zoning can best be used to address a community’s housing needs, while fostering greater private sector involvement in affordable housing development. Read more... Read more

Congress for the New Urbanism: Building Places People Love

Campus Martius in Detroit (Credit: @CNUMidwest /Twitter)
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is an international nonprofit organization working to create vibrant and walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods, where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, shop and get around. Through 25 years of advocacy, CNU has changed the national conversation from a debate over sprawl to a discussion on how to reinvest in our existing communities. People want to live in well-designed places that are unique, authentic and walkable. CNU’s mission is to help people... Read more

Multifamily Housing Developments with Retail Reduce Traffic, Increase Tax Revenue for Cities

A rendering shows "The Boulevard" building in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (Photo courtesy: The Boulevard)
As the Charleston metro region grapples with explosive population growth, one expert warns that policies limiting denser housing developments could hinder efforts to create more affordable housing. The South Carolina Community Loan Fund tends to support high density developments, simply because it provides more bang for the buck. Overall, the projects are less expensive to develop, and they provide a better range of housing opportunities for various level of income people. Read more... Read more

How Land Use Regulations are Zoning Out Low-income Families

The downtown Los Angeles skyline is seen behind new apartment buildings in Little Tokyo, in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTX2A0L5
Social mobility and geographical mobility have historically gone hand-in-hand in America: people move to places with greater opportunity. But such moves have become steadily more difficult, in part because of the growing regulation of land use. Zoning ordinances that limit density are a particular problem, reducing the availability of affordable housing. Read more... Read more

Charleston Can Stack Wealth by Stacking Stories, Consultant Says

The Peoples Building at 18 Broad St. in downtown Charleston has a per-acre taxable value of $103.7 million, whereas the Wal-Mart at Wando Crossing in Mount Pleasant reaches a taxable value of only $564,085 per acre. (Photos/Ashley Heffernan)
Charleston County, South Carolina, could boost its wealth by building taller, high-density structures. Charleston County has 1,081 properties taller than three stories, about 0.7% of the total number of properties. But those buildings produce nearly 10% of all of the county’s wealth, according to Joe Minicozzi, a principal at real estate consulting firm Urban 3 LLC, who presented findings of an “economic MRI” of the region during the Tri-County Housing Summit. Read more... Read more
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