CityLab University: Inclusionary Zoning

July 17, 2018

If you’ve hung around the CityLab site, sat through a City Council meeting, or hobnobbed with a housing developer, you’ve probably run across the term “inclusionary zoning.” You might even think you know what it means. But wait, do you?

  • Inclusionary zoning is a policy that was first developed in the 1970s in response to exclusionary and often racially segregated “snob zoning.”

  • It’s a popular tool for getting the private market to subsidize affordable housing.

  • But critics, namely developers and some economists, say the policy reduces the overall supply of housing, thus raising prices.

  • Other anti-poverty critics say it’s a Band-Aid that doesn’t adequately address the housing needs of low-income people.