The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a new publication that summarizes the effects of restrictive land use policies on housing supply, location, and affordability, in addition to highlighting reforms that state and local governments can adopt to increase the supply of housing.
This land use and zoning-focused brief is the inaugural issue of the Office of Policy Development and Research’s (PD&R) new Policy & Practice publication, which aims to share innovative solutions to help local policymakers and practitioners to address housing and community development challenges.
In addition to releasing this new brief on pro-housing land use and zoning reforms, HUD is also announcing an award of $350,000 to Cornell University’s National Zoning Atlas through PD&R’s Research Partnerships program. The goal of this grant is to close data gaps that limit our understanding of the relationship between zoning and segregation, affordability, and other outcomes of interest. Specifically, these research funds will enable researchers to study the impacts of zoning in the largest cities nationwide by contributing to the first-ever comprehensive geospatial repository of zoning conditions.
Past efforts by the National Zoning Atlas and its local partners have helped make the case for local and state regulatory reforms by spotlighting how excessive regulation via restrictive zoning dampens housing production and exacerbates the housing shortage.
“Through the release of Policy & Practice and the research partnership with Cornell University, HUD is highlighting promising reforms that can create more housing abundance while also taking steps to improve data and understanding around the impacts of zoning,” said Solomon Greene, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary within HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. “PD&R looks forward to continuing to support researchers, community residents, practitioners and policymakers to work together to adopt evidence-based and data-driven state and local regulatory reforms aimed at unleashing the supply of housing.”
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan cited the role that land use and zoning laws play in reducing housing development and raising prices. As part of HUD’s administrative actions taken in conjunction with the Administration’s efforts, HUD is currently accepting requests for technical assistance to help local governments ensure housing needs are considered as part of their larger infrastructure investment plans, and identifying and implementing regulatory reforms is an eligible activity of that technical assistance. In addition, HUD received $85 million from Congress in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget to provide communities grants to identify and remove barriers to affordable housing production and preservation.