Fascinating new research by two UCLA urban planning scientists concludes that stringent and restrictive land use regulations, lengthy public review processes and zealous anti-growth activists may be playing a significant role in the segregation of rich and poor neighborhoods in big cities and urbanized areas like the Bay Area. The research by Michael Lens and Paavo Monkkenen found that “particular types of regulation, such as density restrictions, more independent reviews for project approval and zoning changes, and a greater level of involvement by local government and citizenry in the permitting process, are significantly associated with segregation overall and of the affluent.”

The conclusions are generally consistent with the Bay Area Council’s view that imposing over-restrictive regulation and allowing abuse of environmental laws by NIMBYs have negative and unintended consequences in enabling regions like the Bay Area to meet its housing needs. An article in Ars Technica on the research included comments from a San Francisco architect that outdated zoning regulations blocking higher density housing in the urban core combined with anti-sprawl regulations were responsible for skyrocketing land values that push up home prices and rents and make producing housing for lower- and middle-income residents almost impossible. To engage in our housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Read the Ars Technica article>>

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