Eliminating Exclusionary Land Use Regulations Should Be the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

Michael Stegman

Evidence is accumulating that the multiple layers of exclusionary zoning and land use controls are a powerful contributor not just to higher housing costs, but also to declining rates of economic mobility and productivity growth, and to widening disparities in the wealth of white and black Americans. In this Industry Perspectives paper, Senior Fellow Michael Stegman looks back at five presidential commissions and federal initiatives to eliminate local barriers to housing development, put in motion by both Democratic and Republican administrations, arguing that each was based on the proposition that unnecessary land use regulations drive up production costs and drive down housing supply. Considering President Trump’s new White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing within this context, as well as the position of the Obama White House, he summarizes research that indicates the importance of this issue for future policymaking.