Land Use Regulation and Housing Affordability

from the book Regulation and Economic Opportunity: Blueprints for Reform

Executive Summary

Every city in the United States has implemented land use regulations that limit the amount of housing that can be built within city borders and raise the cost of new housing construction. Those higher costs contribute to slower economic growth and prevent cities from being affordable places for people to live. In this chapter, land use scholar and economist Emily Hamilton discusses potential policy reforms to maximize zoning policy’s contributions to a thriving economy. Policymakers should consider:

  • Allowing the development of duplexes in areas zoned for single-family housing as in Oregon and Minneapolis,
  • Reforming state rules to allow accessory dwelling units, known as mother-in-law apartments, throughout cities and towns as California has already done,
  • Preventing local governments from establishing rules discouraging the development of housing without also considering the spillover effects on neighboring areas.
CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.