What is Exclusionary zoning? Context, History and Discrimination

Exclusionary zoning is a practice that has been used by zoning board, local planning authority or municipalities in the United States to restrict the development of certain types of housing in certain areas. This practice has been used to prevent the construction of low-income housing in wealthier neighborhoods, effectively limiting the ability of lower-income individuals to live in those areas.

This can be done through a variety of means, such as setting minimum lot sizes, maximum building heights, or requiring that a certain percentage of the land be used for certain purposes (such as open space or residential development).

Examples of Exclusionary zoning

One example of exclusionary zoning is a requirement that all new developments in a certain area must have a minimum lot size of one acre. This would effectively exclude the construction of smaller, more affordable housing units, such as apartments or townhouses, and could make it difficult for low-income individuals or families to find housing in that area.

Another example of exclusionary zoning is a requirement that all new developments in a certain area must include a certain percentage of “green space.” This could be a park, a playground, or a natural area. While this requirement may have some positive environmental benefits, it could also make it difficult for developers to build housing in that area, and could drive up the cost of housing for people who live there.

Overall, exclusionary zoning is a controversial practice that can have significant effects on the availability and affordability of housing in a given area. Some people argue that it is necessary to protect the character and quality of a community, while others believe that it can be used to exclude certain groups of people from living in certain areas.

History of Exclusionary zoning

Exclusionary zoning has a long history in the United States, dating back to the early 20th century. In the 1920s, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Euclid v. Ambler that local governments could use zoning laws to restrict land use and prevent the development of certain types of housing. This ruling paved the way for the widespread adoption of exclusionary zoning practices, which were used by many local governments to prevent the construction of affordable housing in their communities.

These practices have been criticized for exacerbating income inequality and segregation in American cities. In recent years, there has been a growing movement to challenge and reform exclusionary zoning laws, in order to promote more equitable and inclusive communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does exclusionary zoning affect housing prices?

Exclusionary zoning could make housing more expensive by restricting number of available homes. As the area is “zoned” for single family homes, there is less demand for housing. This leads to higher prices and fewer affordable housing options.

Why do some cities allow exclusionary zoning?

Exclusionary zoning is often justified by the argument that it protects the character of a neighborhood or community. However, this is not necessarily true. Exclusionary zoning can also be used to protect the interests of property owners. For example, exclusionary zoning can prevent communities from growing and changing. It can also block the development of new businesses and jobs, which can threaten the economic stability of the community.

Are exclusionary zoning laws constitutional?

Yes. In the United States, exclusionary zoning is protected by the constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled that the right to free speech does not extend to zoning decisions. Additionally, the court has held that the government can exclude individuals from living in a certain area in order to maintain the character of the neighborhood.

Can exclusionary zoning be used to discriminate against racial minorities?

Yes. In the 1960s and 1970s, exclusionary zoning was used to restrict the number of blacks who lived in certain areas of cities. The Supreme Court ruled that the government had the right to make these decisions. However, the court did not rule that it was unconstitutional for the government to make these decisions.

How can exclusionary zoning be changed?

The practice of exclusionary zoning is not necessarily permanent. It can be changed, usually through a change in the local laws. This means that zoning can be changed to allow for mixed-use housing developments, multi-family housing, and businesses.

Is exclusionary zoning still practiced today?

Yes. Many cities and towns still practice exclusionary zoning. Neighborhoods are often zoned to preserve the character of the area. Businesses often benefit from zoning laws that make it difficult for apartment buildings and other multi-unit housing developments to be built in their area.

Are exclusionary zoning laws fair?

No. The practice of exclusionary zoning is unfair. It limits the housing options available to people who live in certain areas and prevents people from living in other areas. It is also unfair to property owners who may not be able to sell their home or business because of the zoning.

Is exclusionary zoning necessary?

No. Exclusionary zoning can be a very poor choice. It can prevent the development of new businesses, limit the types of housing available, and block the growth of the community.

Does exclusionary zoning hurt the economy?

Yes. Exclusionary zoning can reduce the amount of housing available. This can increase housing prices and make it harder to find an affordable place to live. It can also limit the amount of jobs available to the community.

How can we change exclusionary zoning?

We can change exclusionary zoning through changes in the local laws. We can also work to pass legislation that protects the rights of people who want to live in certain areas.

Who are the biggest supporters of exclusionary zoning?

Supporters of exclusion.