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