Zoning to Expand Affordable Housing

Zoning Practice — December 2006

By Jeffrey Lubell


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Despite a recent slowdown in home sales, working families continue to struggle to find affordable homes — both rental and for sale — in communities around the country. The problem has grown to the point where it is no longer of concern only to the affected families, but also to the communities in which they live or wish to live.

Providing affordable homes is a major challenge that requires multiple responses by a variety of actors at the federal, state, and local levels. While city planners, zoning board officials, and others involved in the zoning process cannot solve this problem alone, there are a number of steps they can take to make a material difference in increasing the availability of homes affordable to working families.

This issue of Zoning Practice discusses three zoning tools used by communities to increase the availability of affordable homes: revising zoning policies to make more land available for residential use, adopting zoning policies that support a diversity of housing types, and establishing inclusionary zoning requirements or incentives.


Page Count
Date Published
Dec. 1, 2006
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Jeffrey Lubell