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(Updated July 2016)

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, New Jersey. (A. Scoulas, Information and Project Specialist)

Inclusionary Zoning

Image Credit: Flickr user MDGovpics

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only.  Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Sample Inclusionary Zoning Ordinances

Madison, Wisconsin, (Community Development Division, City of Madison Department of Planning & Community and Economic Development).

Sacramento, California, (Sacramento City Council).

Barnstable, Massachusetts, (Town of Barnstable).

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, (Lehigh Valley Planning Commission).

Inclusionary Zonin​g​ Basics

Inclusionary Zoning as a Tool for Affordable Housing Production, (Nonprofit Quarterly, June 5, 2015).

Zoning: Inclusionary v. Exclusionary, (Sightline Daily, Sept. 29, 2014).

Zoning Part Two: Exclusionary Zoning’s End, (Sightline Daily, Sept. 30, 2014).

One of the best ways to fight inequality in cities: zoning, (The Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2014).

Inclusionary Housing Publications, (California Department of Housing and Community Development, Aug. 2009).

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

Handbook on Developing Inclusionary Zoning, (Statewide Planning Program, Division of Planning, Rhode Island Department of Administration, 2006).

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

Inclusionary Zoni​ng News

Evanston seeks affordable housing solution, (The Chicago Tribune, June 26, 2015).

California Supreme Court ruling sets precedent for inclusionary housing in state, (The Daily Californian, June 17, 2015).

‘Inclusionary zoning’ called good for housing diversity in D.C., (The Washington Post, June 5, 2015).

88,000 apply to get in this 'poor door', (CNN Money, Apr. 21, 2015).

After years of trying, inclusionary zoning bill passes Oregon House, (The Oregonian, Apr. 14, 2015).

Impacts and Ca​se Studies

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

Success Stories: Mixed-Income Housing in Connecticut, (Partnership for Strong Communities, 2015).

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

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

Housing supply and affordability: Do affordable housing mandates work?, (Reason Foundation, 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). E

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

Achieving Lasting Affordability through Inclusionary Housing, (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2014).

Model Policy: Inclusionary Zoning, (National Law Center of Homelessness & Poverty, 2015).

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

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 Doctrine I and II

New Jersey Supreme Court Decisions Affirm Mount Laurel Doctrine, Separate Decision Protects Supportive Housing, (National Low Income Housing Coalition, Sept. 27, 2013).

The Fight for the Mount Laurel Doctrine, (Next City, Feb. 4, 2013).

What is the Mount Laurel Doctrine?, (Fair Share Housing Center, n.d.).

Mount Laurel Doctrine, (Wikipedia, n.d.).

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). E

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 Services. 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 Services 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

Adaptations to an 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

Information Services Blog

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