Experts caution that to encourage significant new housing production, other zoning reforms that reduce costs and streamline permitting should accompany increased density requirements.
In yet another cautionary article warning planners of the limitations of upzoning, Carl Smith reports on a Connecticut study that reveals that eliminating single-family zoning is only one step toward reducing the massive gap between affordable housing supply and demand. The study was conducted by Desegregate Connecticut, which created a first-of-its-kind map that details zoning codes in each of the state's jurisdictions, allowing planners to compare different zoning regulations and understand how they interconnect.
Their analysis found that "a surprising number of other zoning requirements have the potential to interfere with efforts to open more land to multifamily dwellings." These include public hearing requirements that can delay or derail projects, minimum parking requirements, height limits, lot coverage, floor area ratio requirements, and occupancy restrictions. As others have pointed out, upzoning alone doesn't guarantee new construction if demand doesn't exist or other restrictions make development too onerous and expensive.
Advocates like Desegregate Connecticut are pushing for other zoning reforms that, together with upzoning, will make a real positive impact on the housing market. Thanks in part to Desegregate CT's efforts, which we covered last March, the Connecticut state legislature passed Public Act 21-29, a bill that addresses many of the above concerns and implements more comprehensive zoning reform that goes beyond density to remove other barriers to new housing.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’
A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.
Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit
For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.
Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages
An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.
California's Stormwater Potential
A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
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.