Expanding Housing Opportunities Through Inclusionary Zoning: Lessons from Two Counties

Authors: The Urban Institute


Release Date: December 2012 (140 Pages)
Posted Date: January 10, 2013

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Inclusionary zoning (IZ), also known as inclusionary housing, has become a popular policy tool that local jurisdictions use to increase the production of affordable housing. IZ ordinances either require or encourage builders of new residential developments to set aside a certain percentage of the housing units for low- or moderate-income residents.

This pilot study examines how effective IZ programs are as a strategy to increase the supply of affordable housing and further other housing- and community-related goals in two study sites: Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia. These programs were selected because they operate in the same metropolitan housing market and have been in place for decades. The design and structure of these programs, however, differ significantly and therefore offer potential insight into how contrasting approaches relate to outcomes. The research team collected data, including IZ ordinances and other relevant documents, program data, interviews with key stakeholders, and local housing-market statistics, to evaluate how well IZ strategies provide affordable housing options for low-income communities over time.

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