Zoning as a Barrier to Multifamily Housing Development

PAS Report 548

By Gerrit Knaap, Stuart Meck, FAICP, Terry Moore, FAICP, Robert Parker, AICP

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Does your code prevent the development of often-affordable multifamily housing? This report examines the relationships between zoning and housing in six metropolitan areas.

Using census and GIS data, the authors found indicators of zoning regulations and housing market performance in Boston; Miami-Dade County; Minneapolis–St. Paul; Portland; Sacramento; and Washington, D.C. They evaluated state statutes and regional and local plans in each metropolitan. The result is documentary evidence that exclusionary zoning is a significant barrier to higher-density, multifamily housing, which is often — but not always — more affordable than single-family housing.

The new GIS approach the authors used clearly illuminated the impact of regulatory barriers on housing affordability.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Aug. 1, 2007
Adobe PDF
APA Planning Advisory Service

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Background and Research Approach

Chapter 2: Research Methods

Chapter 3: Findings
Overview of Study Area Evaluation Methodology
Study Area Selection
Indicators Used in the Study Area Evaluations
Overview of Study Area Evaluations
Boston, Massachusetts
Miami-Dade County, Florida
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Portland, Oregon
Sacramento, California
Washington, D.C.
Statistical Analysis
Simulation Exercise: Metroscope

Chapter 4: Conclusions