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Cityscape: Volume 25 Number 3 | 100 Years of Federal-Model Zoning | How Can State Governments Influence Local Zoning to Support Healthier Housing Markets?


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

100 Years of Federal-Model Zoning

Volume 25 Number 3

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

How Can State Governments Influence Local Zoning to Support Healthier Housing Markets?

Jenny Schuetz
The Brookings Institution

The effect of zoning on housing affordability has become an increasingly salient political issue across the United States in the past several years, reflecting limited housing supply and rapid price appreciation in many metropolitan areas. State governments are beginning to push back against the prerogative of “local control” over zoning and housing production. This article examines the potential benefits of targeted state engagement with land use regulation, reviews the kinds of policy tools through which state governments can influence housing production, and documents the contrasting approaches that five states have currently taken. Current state approaches vary widely in the intensity of state engagement and range of policy tools. Housing market conditions also differ across and within states; therefore, statewide policy approaches should be tailored to specific goals and market factors.

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