State governments, in partnership with cities and other local jurisdictions, can and should do more to promote housing development, affordable housing and choice through smarter local land use policies and incentives, according to a new Urban Land Institute (ULI) report, Yes in My Backyard.
Rising housing costs are creating hardships for millions of U.S. households and taking a toll on economic growth – a problem made worse by local zoning and land use regulations and development review processes that impede affordable housing development, the report explains. While municipalities have more autonomy in some states than others, states do have significant power to affect these regulations. However, the report notes, relatively few states have seized opportunities to deploy their authority and resources to help localities plan and accommodate housing development through land use and zoning policies.
“At a time when states and cities are often at odds over hotly contested social and economic issues, land use reforms that expand housing choices and opportunities can constitute common ground,” said Stockton Williams, principal author of the report and executive director of ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, which published the report. “State and local collaboration on housing can create a lower cost of doing business, a more efficient real estate market, and a wider array of options for buyers and renters across the income spectrum.”