NYU Furman Center Makes Case Against Restrictive Land Use and Zoning

Date Published: 
February 24th, 2022

NYU Furman Center published a report highlighting the impact of land use restrictions on the economy, racial equity, and  the environment. By measuring New York City’s housing creation prior to the pandemic, researchers found that housing construction has remained stagnant in the city’s suburbs, issuing fewer building permits per resident than essentially all other suburban Northeastern counties. However, between 1980 and 2018, the region added millions of residents. As stated in the report, “New York has one of the strongest economies in the country: it is clear that a lack of housing supply, not limited demand for housing, is responsible for the slow rate of housing construction.”

The report concludes that if localities do not update their zoning laws to allow for more production of housing, the New York City region will “become increasingly unaffordable, racial and economic divides will continue to grow, the local and regional economy will not function at full potential, and increased per capita carbon emissions will magnify the risks of climate change”. To address restrictive land use and zoning requirements, the report recommends that land use decisions should be made at the state level, in contrast to through local governments, to overcome local oppositions to important kinds of land use.

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