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Field Guide to Inclusionary Zoning

(Updated June 2014)

Inclusionary zoning is a land-use concept in which local ordinances require builders to include a certain amount of housing for low and moderate income households.

In contrast, exclusionary zoning is a technique that effectively drives up the cost of housing, excluding lower-income households from the community. Exclusionary zoning practices have been under attack in communities around the country for decades, most notably in New Jersey, where the historic Mount Laurel decisions have led the way in promoting inclusionary zoning techniques and creating affordable housing.

This field guide includes background information on inclusionary zoning, case studies on what works and what doesn't, considerations in developing inclusionary zoning ordinances, and information about Mount Laurel, NJ. (C. Dodge, Information Specialist)

Inclusionary Zoning

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Q - Proquest articles available for NAR members only.  Password can be found on the Proquest/Find Articles page.

Sample Inclusionary Zoning Ordinances

Madison, WI

Sacramento, CA

Barnstable County, MA

Lehigh Valley, PA

Inclusionary Zoning​ Basics

Tool: Inclusionary Zoning*, (Puget Sound Regional Council, n.d.).

Expanding Housing Opportunities Through Inclusionary Zoning: Lessons From Two Counties (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dec. 2012).

Inclusionary Housing Publications, (California Department of Housing and Community Development, Aug 2008).

Growth Management Fact Book, Section 19: Inclusionary Zoning/Housing(National Association of REALTORS®, 2008)

Handbook on Developing Inclusionary Zoning, (RI Statewide Planning, 2006).

Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit, (The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, n.d.).

Establish Inclusionary Zoning Policies or Incentives, (Center For Housing Policy, n.d.).

Inclusionary Zoning News

Affordable Housing That’s Very Costly, (The New York Times, June 7, 2014).

Should Oregon Cities Be Allowed to Mandate Affordable Housing?, (The Portland Mercury, May 28, 2014).

Walsh and Leroux: For better development, try smarter zoning, (The MetroWest Daily News, May 18, 2014).

New York's De Blasio Unveils $41 Billion Plan for Affordable Housing, (Bloomberg, May 5, 2014).

DC considers making Inclusionary Zoning more affordable, (Greater Greater Washington, Nov. 25, 2013).

California Supreme Court To Review Inclusionary Housing Requirements, (Mondaq, Oct. 22, 2013).

Impacts and Ca​se Studies

Inclusionary Zoning and Mixed-Income Communities, (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Spring 2013).

Why I Don't Like Inclusionary Zoning, (Market Urbaism, Dec. 28, 2010).

Housing Market Impacts of Inclusionary Zoning, (National Center of Smart Growth Research & Education, Feb. 2008)

The Effects of Inclusionary Zoning on Local Housing Markets: Lessons from the San Francisco, Washington DC and Suburban Boston Areas, (National Housing Conference, Feb. 2010).

Housing supply and affordability: Do affordable housing mandates work?, (Reason Public Policy Institute, Apr. 2004).

Large cities and inclusionary zoning, (Business & Professional People for the Public Interest, Nov. 2003).

Inclusionary housing in California: The experience of two decades, (Journal of the American Planning Association, Spring 1998).  Q

Inclusionary housing in California and New Jersey: A comparative analysis, (Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1997).

Inclusionary Zoning Background and Examples: History and National Case Studies, (The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, n.d.).

Inclusionary Zoning: Pros and Cons, (Ginsler & Associates, n.d.).

Inclusionary Zoning Pros and Cons, (California Association of REALTORS®, n.d.).

Inclusionary Zoning Suburban Case Study, (The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, n.d.).

Policy Cons​iderations

The Renewed Debate on Inclusionary Zoning, (Market Urban, Oct 10, 2012).

Inclusionary Zoning: More Problems, Less Solutions, and Making Markets More Inefficient All at One Time, (Pax Americana Institute, Mar. 26, 2007).

Delivering on the Promise of Inclusionary Housing: Best Practices in Administration and Monitoring, (Policy Link, 2007)

Inclusionary zoning: Legal issues, (California Affordable Housing Law Project of the Public Interest Law Project/Western Center on Law & Poverty, Dec. 2002).

Inclusionary housing: A discussion of policy issues, (Alachua County Department of Planning & Development, June 15, 2001)

Arguments and Counterarguments for Inclusionary Zoning, (California Association of REALTORS®, n.d.).

New Jersey's Mount Laur​el I & II

What is the Mount Laurel Doctrine?, (fairsharehousing.org).

Mount Laurel Doctrine, (Wikipedia).

The Effect of the Mount Laurel Decision on Segregation by Race, Income and Poverty Status(Damiano Sasso, The College of New Jersey, Apr. 20, 2004).

General welfare and regional planning: How the law of unintended consequences and the Mount Laurel doctrine gave New Jersey a modern state plan, (St. John's Law Review, Fall 1999). Q

Affordable housing law in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, (Pace Law Review, Spring 1998).

Books, eBooks & O​ther Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

A Better Way to Zone (Kindle, OverDrive, Adobe eReader)

The Complete Guide to Zoning (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia (Adobe eReader)

Real Estate in American History (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Guide to Zoning (Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Climbing Mount Laurel: the struggle for affordable housing and social mobility in an American suburb, by Douglas S. Massey, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013). HD 7287.96.U62 N552

Inclusionary Zoning for Affordable Housing, By Douglas Porter, (Washington, D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 2004). KF 5698 P67

Inclusionary zoning: The California experience, (Washington, D.C.: Center for Housing Policy, Feb. 2004). HD 7293 C33ic

Inclusionary zoning: Lessons learned in Massachusetts, (Washington, D.C.: Center for Housing Policy, Jan. 2002). HD 7293 C33im

Expanding affordable housing through inclusionary zoning: lessons from the Washington metropolitan area, (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, Oct. 2001). HD 7293 B76ex

Inclusionary zoning: A viable solution to the affordable housing crisis?, (Washington, D.C.: Center for Housing Policy, Oct. 2000). HD 7293 C33i

Adaptions to and Activist Court: Aftermath of the Mount Laurel II Decision for Lower-Income Housing, By Marcia K. Steinberg, (Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1989). NAC 765 L63

Inclusionary Housing Programs: Policies and Practices, By Alan Mallach, (New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, 1984). NAC 765 R93i

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Effects of Low-Income Housing on Property Values

Field Guide to Fair Housing

Field Guide to Zoning Laws & Ordinances

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.