Equity in Zoning: More Than Words

What You'll Learn

  • How the U.S. legal system constrains local government ability to focus on equitable planning outcomes, and instead focuses on equitable planning procedures.
  • How some forms of inequity are supported by traditional zoning controls, and how removing or modifying those tools can produce more equitable land use outcomes.
  • How city and county governments are working around legal barriers to encourage greater income, job, and neighborhood equity through zoning and land use regulations.

More Course Details

The long, sustained recovery from the Great Recession has produced economic growth but also increasing income, job, and housing disparities across the U.S. In many communities, this has resulted in calls for increased equity in planning and zoning, and for stronger tools to ensure that the impacts of local land use decisions on poor and disadvantaged populations are minimized or mitigated.

To date, much of the conversation has focused on the need for more inclusive participation in planning procedures, but that will not be enough. History shows that even when people of color, those with disabilities, and the poor are included, their needs are often not addressed.

In this course, attorneys, planners, and lawyers describe the ways different U.S. states and cities have adopted zoning or land use regulations or incentives that try to embed greater concern for equity into everyday land-use governance. Learn about legal principles and cases that make it difficult for American communities to change from a focus on equitable procedures to a focus on equitable outcomes.