How Land-Use Regulation Undermines Affordable Housing
To varying degrees, most municipalities regulate urban development with zoning, density restrictions, and parking requirements. Such policies restrict the housing supply and urban density relative to what it could be in a free market. In this paper, we review the literature that measures the price effects of a variety of land-use regulations. Most of these studies find that both traditional landuse policies and newer policies, such as smart growth and inclusionary zoning, increase the cost of housing. And because housing takes up a larger share of the budgets of lower-income households relative to higher-income households, these policies are regressive—a disproportionate share of their costs falls on the relatively poor.