Zoning Regulations Restrict Building Affordable Homes

(p. A25) Although zoning may seem like a technical, bureaucratic and decidedly local question, in reality the issue relates directly to three grand themes that Joe Biden ran on in the 2020 campaign: racial justice, respect for working-class people and national unity. Perhaps no single step would do more to advance those goals than tearing down the government-sponsored walls that keep Americans of different races and classes from living in the same communities, sharing the same public schools and getting a chance to know one another across racial, economic and political lines.

Economically discriminatory zoning policies — which say that you are not welcome in a community unless you can afford a single-family home, sometimes on a large plot of land — are not part of a distant, disgraceful past. In most American cities, zoning laws prohibit the construction of relatively affordable homes — duplexes, triplexes, quads and larger multifamily units — on three-quarters of residential land.

For the full commentary, see:

Richard D. Kahlenberg. “Zoning Is a Social Justice Matter.” The New York Times (Tuesday, April 20, 2021): A25.

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date April 19, 2021, and has the title “The ‘New Redlining’ Is Deciding Who Lives in Your Neighborhood.”)

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