Local Solutions for Housing Affordability

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy recently published a report to identify local government actions to ensure stable and affordable places to live for everyone.

March 11, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


African American

Simone Hogan / Shutterstock

Authors Ingrid Gould Ellen and Mark A. Willis of New York University and Jeffrey Lubell of Abt Associates have authored a report, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, that provides tools and guidance for local governments faced with increasingly out-of-reach housing costs—a challenge only exacerbated by the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The report describes the extent of the affordability crisis, explores the forces that drive housing prices, and explains the interaction among federal, state, and local policy. Its recommendations focus on local government, where most decisions about land use and housing are made in the United States," according to an article by Will Jason that summarizes the report.

On a particularly topical note, the report argues that more permissive land use policies alone are not enough to solve the affordability crisis.

"Other drivers of rising housing costs include the limited availability of land, the impacts of global investment capital, rising income inequality, stagnant incomes, and a lack of innovation in the construction sector," writes Jason. "These challenges demand collaboration between the private sector and all levels of government to expand the stock of rental and for-sale housing with binding covenants that ensure long-term affordability and to protect residents from displacement." 

Instead of a one-size-all prescription, the report tailors its recommendations to the individual needs of communities, with a focus on the rental market. The four-part framework recommended by the report includes a menu of actions for each category of 1) creating and preserving affordable housing units, 2) reducing barriers to new supply, 3) helping households access and afford private homes, and 4) protecting against displacement and sub-standard living conditions.

The report builds on recommendations found on LocalHousingSolutions.org, a website hosted by Abt Associates and the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy that helps local government officials navigate policy options and craft housing plans.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.