Helping People Move out of Poverty

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

May 28

I read an article in Bloomberg Businessweek this month (May 2016) titled Helping Americans Move out of Poverty.

I was struck by this:

“Zoning rules stipulate minimum lot size or maximum building heights to prevent construction of affordable housing. Such restrictions can increase housing costs in thriving local economies by 50 percent or more,” Bloomberg View

50 percent? 

That’s a very big number.

I’ve believed for a long time that not only do zoning codes restrict supply of affordable housing, they contribute in any number of ways to urban sprawl.

The development industry is usually tagged with this, but they’re mostly


following the dictates of urban planners who insist, in addition to minimum lot sizes and maximum heights, on large sideyard, rearyard and front yard setbacks, huge rights-of-way for roads and services, big open space ratios, overly generous parking requirements, mono cultured neighborhoods of single family homes and nothing else (no jobs, no shopping, no learning opportunities, no coach houses, alley ways…)

Bloomberg goes on to say, “On zoning, a 2015 US Supreme Court decision may point the way: It ruled that the Fair Housing Act prohibits policies that discriminate, even unintentionally, against minority groups… this could help restore the market’s ability to provide housing in places where it’s most needed, which could boost the country’s output by almost 10 percent.”

This confirms my view that zoning codes are strangling the ability of cities and towns to react quickly and effectively to changes in the global economy thereby torpedoing growth in a huge way. 

@ profbruce

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.