Pro-Development Coalition Forms in Connecticut

DesegregateCT is a growing coalition of groups coalescing behind ideas like Missing Middle Housing and zoning reform as a means to improved housing affordability.

2 minute read

July 20, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

"A new coalition of lawmakers, advocates and others called Tuesday for zoning and land use reforms in the hopes of eventually creating more affordable housing, less exclusionary zoning and widespread desegregation," reports Christopher Keating. 

The coalition grew out of an effort to push the state legislature to address housing affordability in a special session next week, but instead Gov. Ned Lamont pushed the issue until next session. 

Keating detail the agenda of the new coalition:

The coalition, known as DesegregateCT, is pushing a series of ideas, including allowing accessory apartments as large as 1,200 square feet to be permitted on large, single-family lots. In addition, they are calling for more small-scale townhouses and duplexes or so-called middle housing that could be built within a half-mile of train stations and a quarter-mile of commercial developments. They want towns to designate 10% of their property as middle housing or multifamily in order to diversify the housing options. They also want to relax minimum parking requirements that they say are highest in wealthier towns.

Already, more than 25 different organizations have joined DesegregateCT, according to Keating, including the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Connecticut Voices for Children and the Partnership for Strong Communities.

Keating credits the momentum beyond the group to Sara Bronin, who spearheaded sweeping parking reforms as chair of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission, and has contributed to zoning and planning news on several occasions during the pandemic, highlighting efforts to loosen zoning restrictions as an anti-racist practice and removing parking minimums as an economic stimulus for local businesses.

DesegregateCT is likely to find opposition, however, in a state that still prides itself on its suburban character, as detailed in a recent article by Joseph De Avila and Jon Kamp that is behind the Wall Street Journal paywall.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in Hartford Courant

Red on white 'Room for Rent, Inquire Inside' sign

In Most U.S. Cities, Archaic Laws Limit Roommate Living

Critics argue laws preventing unrelated adults from living in the same home fail to understand the modern American household.

May 24, 2023 - The Atlantic

Vancouver Chuck Wolfe

Ten Signs of a Resurgent Downtown

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe continues his exploration of a holistic and practical approach to post-pandemic urban center recovery, anchored in local context and community-driven initiatives that promote livability, safety, and sustainability.

May 24, 2023 - GeekWire

New York MTA subway station

Off-Peak is the New On-Peak

Public transit systems in major U.S. cities are starting to focus on non-rush hour travelers as pre-pandemic commuting patterns shift and transportation needs change.

May 19, 2023 - Curbed

Nighttime view of Tacoma, Washington skyline

Tacoma Coalition Calls for ‘Tenants’ Bill of Rights’

The group wants to put more power in the hands of tenants, but the city has its own, competing proposal for addressing the housing crisis.

May 26 - The Urbanist

Wind turbines sillhouetted against a sunset sky along roadway in New Mexico

New Power Transmission Line Approved in the Southwest

The proposed transmission line will transfer wind-produced power from New Mexico to cities in Arizona and California.

May 26 - U.S. News And World Report

Aerial view of 238 freeway in Oakland, California cutting through neighborhood with small houses

The Limitations of ‘Reconnecting Communities’

The Biden administration has pledged to correct the damage imposed on communities by highways and infrastructure, but many projects are only committing to minor improvements, not transformative changes.

May 26 - The New York Times

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.