Tag Archives: Chapel Hill

Different Ways to Affordable

photo credit: U.S. Navy

Last night I had a great dinner with a couple other city planning PhD students.  It may come as no surprise that cities were among the topics of discussion.

As we were trading our different plans for summer research, writing, biking, etc, I mentioned that I was eager to see how different cities treat affordable housing.  Some cities, like Chapel Hill, have deliberate policies dedicated to affordability.  Other places, like Philadelphia, have vast networks of nonprofits, churches, and community organizations that support affordability in their own ways.   Continue reading

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Planning for Affordability: Inclusionary Zoning

photo credit: Hisham N. Ashkouri for TAC

Zoning is the strongest tool available to planners.  Drawing its legal foundations from the police power of government, zoning lets localities set spatial rules about land use.  This has many advantages, including the separation of incompatible uses (i.e. elementary schools and chemical plants – an extreme example).

So, you enact a nice local zoning code.  Houses here, industry here, mixed uses there.  The Market hums along, steering everything to their highest and best uses (as far as your zoning allows).  The problem?  In market terms of “highest and best use,” affordable housing development rarely makes the cut. Continue reading

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