HKS Affiliated Authors


January 2023, Paper: "Housing costs across the nation and in Greater Boston are rising, and many policymakers have turned to Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) in an attempt to dampen these effects on their lowest-income residents. Yet design and implementation of IZ policy remains haphazard and often is not well-grounded in prospective analyses of its potential effects. We combine evidence from quantitative financial models and qualitative interviews to create guidelines for the design of IZ policy. We apply our analytic framework to two Greater Boston cities’ economic, political, and administrative environments: Revere and Lynn. We identify the potential for various policy levers to create affordable housing, and address the risks and limitations of IZ policy. We find that IZ policies are most effective when targeted at affordable rental units for low to moderate income residents, but IZ alone is unlikely to produce a substantial number of units priced for extremely low income households. Even appropriately-targeted IZ policies are unlikely to be successful without positive incentives, such as eliminating parking requirements and adding density bonuses, and are limited by their reliance on market conditions. Therefore IZ may not be appropriate for every community. Ultimately, we conclude that to realize the potential benefits of IZ, planners and policymakers must carefully tailor IZ policies to their local and regional context and supplement them with other affordable housing production policies." Read Via HKS Working Papers