INCLUSIONARY ZONING: THE MOST PROMISING—OR COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE—OF ALL HOUSING POLICIES Great good or great bad, depending on design.

Inclusionary Zoning: The Most Promising-or Counter-productive-of All Housing Policies

Imagine two towns, both committed to helping their low-income residents but short on funding for social services. Both decide to require retailers to sell 5 or 10 percent of their wares at steeply discounted prices to families who qualify for benefits: milk, jeans, refrigerators, whatever. But they do it two different ways.

This article provides a great explanation on why developers can not just "eat the costs" of inclusionary zoning, if there are no incentives provided. Neighborhoods and residents believe that developers are greedy and making so much money on housing. But the reality is there is a risk-reward ratio for housing developers where the risk becomes much greater with mandated inclusionary zoning. If done correctly, inclusionary zoning can help integrate neighborhoods by class and race and improve the ability for lower income households to live in high opportunity neighborhoods (this helps them prosper and build wealth). If the policy is put together poorly, inclusionary zoning can inflate home/rent prices because developers will build fewer housing units due to costs and risk. SANE hopes Mayor Ron Nirenberg's housing task force gets this policy recommendation right.