Updated: Journal Article Calls for the End of Single-Family Zoning

An article published by the Journal of the American Planning Association argues that single-family zoning "exacerbates inequality and undermines efficiency," and should be eliminated entirely.

December 9, 2019, 2:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Suburban Home

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An article by Michael Manville, Paavo Monkkonen, and Michael Lens, published by the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA), calls for the end of single-family zoning.

From the abstract:

R1’s origins are unpleasant: Stained by explicitly classist and implicitly racist motivations, R1 today continues to promote exclusion. It makes it harder for people to access high-opportunity places, and in expensive regions it contributes to shortages of housing, thereby benefiting homeowners at the expense of renters and forcing many housing consumers to spend more on housing. Stacked against these drawbacks, moreover, are a series of only weak arguments in R1’s favor about preferences, aesthetics, and a single-family way of life.

The full article, which is behind the journal's paywall, debunks the pro-single-family zoning arguments and appeals to planners to entirely abolish single-family zoning.

Update, December 10, 2019: The same issue of JAPA includes another article by Jake Wegman, titled "Death to Single-Family Zoning…and New Life to the Missing Middle," that makes a similar case against single-family zoning. On Twitter, Wegman said "it's long past time for the planning profession to stop defending the indefensible" in a thread promoting the opinion article.

Friday, December 6, 2019 in Journal Of The American Planning Association

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