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8 Ways Exclusionary Zoning Hurts Cities

The Sightline Institute tackles what may be "our most acute urban public policy challenge."
May 8, 2016, 7am PDT | Elana Eden
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Seattle's 2015 Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda caused something of a stir with its claim that exclusionary zoning is rooted in racism and classism, and no less complicit in those systems today.

Dan Bertolet, a senior researcher at the Sightline Institute, says that should have been an unremarkable statement. He offers a brief history of exclusionary zoning practices—like single-family zoning or strict height and density limits—and traces their effects on cities and communities in the United States.

Drawing on research from Harvard, the Brookings Institution, the White House, and more, the article summarizes the harm done by exclusionary zoning in eight related points. Among them:

  • Tight regulations radically inflate housing costs
  • Exclusionary zoning increases homelessness
  • Housing restrictions make everyone poorer

The piece is part of Sightline's series Legalizing Inexpensive Housing.

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Published on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Sightline Institute
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