Fair Housing Is More Important Than Ever

Zoning Practice — December 2018

By Donald Elliott, FAICP


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Fair housing seems like a quintessentially American goal. Of course we're against housing discrimination. Who would be in favor of it? But our nation's path toward that goal has been long and slow. Support for the Fair Housing Act has been less than robust in Washington, and a surprising number of local governments are both unfamiliar with, and do not reflect the goals of the act in their zoning regulations. But there is more to the story than that. Fair housing remains a priority for many local governments and has become increasingly intertwined with efforts to address America's affordable housing crisis.

This issue of Zoning Practice reviews the basics of fair housing law, two recent developments in fair housing, and discusses practices to help close the gap between the current reality and the ideal of fair housing.


Page Count
Date Published
Dec. 1, 2018
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Donald Elliott, FAICP
Donald L. Elliott, FAICP, is a Senior Consultant with Clarion Associates, LLC, a national land use consulting firm. Don’s practice focuses on land development regulation, fair and affordable housing, and international land and urban development issues. Don has assisted over 70 U.S. communities to update plans and regulations related to housing, zoning, subdivision, fair housing, and land development. He is the author of A Better Way to Zone (Island Press 2008), co-author of The Rules that Shape Urban Form (APA 2012) and The Citizen’s Guide to Planning (APA 2009) and has served as the editor of Colorado Land Planning and Development Law for 30 years. Don teaches graduate level course on Land Use Regulation at the University of Colorado at Denver School of Architecture and Planning and is a former member of the Denver Planning Board. Don has a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy Analysis from Yale University, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.