Land Use Reforms for Housing Supply

Research Report

Land Use Reforms for Housing Supply

Case Studies on the Process for Passing and Implementing Regulation Changes


Restrictive land-use regulations can suppress housing production and perpetuate patterns of racial and economic residential segregation. This report provides insights into the factors that go into first passing and then implementing land use reforms to increase housing production and advance equity through two case studies. The first examines the process of allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—or smaller, independent residences located within or on the same lot as a single-family home—in Washington, DC, while the second investigates a policy to waive impact fees for ADUs in Portland, OR. These case studies indicate that reforms can pass more effectively if planners and policymakers establish shared and coherent comprehensive planning goals, balance volunteer participant input with representative data, invest in public education, and plan to regularly review outcomes to further improve the policy. Additionally, the research indicates that planners and policymakers can bolster housing production from the reform by strengthening and aligning other housing system supports such as building codes, financing products, and public education resources.

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