Why Cities Must Tackle Single-Family Zoning

Density Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Housing Year in Review


Current housing crisis involves the need of more affordable housing in expensive cities. The issue of location also plays an important factor as downtown land values and market development drastically increases expenses. Contrary, single-family homes and neighbourhoods remain absent to new development. Adding dense and affordable market priced apartments in high-income neighbourhoods close to urban centres are often overlooked, but provide several benefits. It allows more individuals to have greater economic mobility, environmentally friendly commuting and reduction in neighbourhood segregation. A San Francisco tenant activist, Randy Shaw describes America’s uncertainty in dealing with the housing crisis, thorough his book, “Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America”. Shaw highlights the lack of attention being paid to wealthier single family home neighbourhoods, and that providing greater variety of housing options in these neighbourhoods is critical for America’s housing crisis. Despite obstacles and lack of financial support from state and federal governments, cities try to support housing by passing affordable housing bonds. In addition, the best way to improve affordability is to change zoning laws, particularly have inclusionary zoning where developers reserve certain portion of new units as affordable and increase demographic variability in single home neighbourhoods.

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