With more low-income households settling outside of urban centers, planners are faced with the challenge of getting affordable housing built in traditionally upscale suburban communities where zoning has all but forbid low-cost homes.
"Chicago's northern suburbs are among America's most idyllic. None is grander than Lake Forest, where the average home costs over $1m. But the suburb, by definition unaffordable, is building something unusual: affordable housing. A new development in Lake Forest will include a few cheaper homes, as required by a new town ordinance.
The debate over low-cost housing has moved well beyond the inner city. America's suburbs have changed. No longer the province of the affluent and the middle-class, they are home to an increasing share of new immigrants and poor (in 2005 the suburban poor outnumbered their urban counterparts). This new reality, combined with a growing distaste for ever-extending sprawl, long commutes, traffic jams and the pollution they bring, is driving efforts to build cheaper housing nearer to jobs in existing suburbs. The subprime mortgage mess has driven the trend, too."