Affordable Housing: Inclusionary Zoning – Boon or Curse?

Provo Downtown Rooftop Concert

As housing markets continue to add units at the higher end of the market, the lack of “affordable housing” declines. The reduced number of housing units constructed since the Great Recession has helped to drive rents and purchase prices ever higher. In my own community of Provo, young professionals often look to other nearby cities, and therefore a commute, to find affordable homes. And, this is a small microcosm of what many larger cities are experiencing. Our Planning Commission hearings frequently evaluate proposals for housing development, including rental units. At present, our policies do not “require” that affordable units be constructed in these proposed projects. Therefore, affordable housing rental units have concentrated around transit stations, due to financial incentives for building them there. It would be preferable to distribute these units throughout the city.

This article by the Sightline Institute discusses how, when, and why Inclusionary Zoning may be a valuable tool for development of affordable housing. And, what the pitfalls may be for various implementation strategies. How are you encouraging affordable housing, or are you, in your city?


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