zoning

Homeowners Saying “Yes, In My Back Yard”: Evidence from Israel

By Tal Alster (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) | Renting or owning an apartment in the world’s most desired cities has become increasingly unaffordable, especially for low-income households and less-skilled workers. One of the main reasons is growing regulatory barriers to new construction. Many blame NIMBYism – opposition to new construction by existing homeowners who adopt a “Not in my back yard” position – as the driver of excessive regulation. Richard Florida calls them the ‘New Urban Luddites’, Edward Glaeser ‘The Entrenched’, and William Fischel ‘Homevoters’. The takeaway is similar: older and more affluent homeowners use their political power to prevent new housing from being built and profit from rising urban rents, and in the process economic growth and the mobility prospects of the poor are stifled. NIMBYism, historically considered a micro phenomenon associated mostly with suburbs, is now considered to have macro effects on entire urban regions. Read More

June 21, 2022 // 0 Comments

Jurisdictional Size and Residential Development: Are Large-Scale Local Governments More Receptive to Multifamily Housing?

By Nicholas J. Marantz (University of California Irvine) and Paul G. Lewis (Arizona State University) | As World War II drew to a close, residents of an affluent unincorporated area south of Denver, Colorado sought ways to preserve the low-density, single-family character of their community. They were especially alarmed by the possibility of central-city annexation to nearby Denver, which was much more racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. In order to maintain the community’s low-density single-family residential character, residents voted in 1945 to incorporate a new municipality called Cherry Hills Village. The new local government locked into place the area’s existing zoning, with a 2.5-acre minimum lot size across most of the city. Today, Cherry Hills Village remains an exclusive enclave: As of 2018, 94% of its 6,600 residents were non-Hispanic whites and 98% of its housing units were single-family detached, despite its location near major employment centers. Similar choices about local control and restrictive zoning have been made by electorates and public officials in countless other suburban locales around the United States. Read More

February 16, 2022 // 0 Comments