As if local land use controls on growth aren’t bad enough on housing supply and affordability, a new study indicates that the more restrictive certain local policies are on land use, the more likely the community is to have wealth segregation. Active community groups are also a major detrimental factor.
As Ars Technica reports, two UCLA researchers combined datasets on land use controls and income segregation to conclude the following:
We find that particular types of regulation, such as density restrictions, more independent reviews for project approval and zoning changes, and a greater level of involvement by local government and citizenry in the permitting process, are significantly associated with segregation overall and of the affluent.
As the articles summarizes:
Essentially, the more cities require independent reviews and community meetings to develop land, the more income-segregated the city becomes. Density restrictions also cause wealthy enclaves, regardless of whether they mandate minimum or maximum density in an area. Even if your city mandates high density housing (or creates special zones for low-density, single-family homes), it won’t necessarily solve the problem of income segregated neighborhoods. Finally, in an interesting twist, it turns out that the more local government and citizens groups control development, the more segregated its wealthiest members become.
The authors recommend more state control of land use decision-making, which is where California probably needs to go if there’s any hope of saving the state from a future of extreme haves and have-nots.