Zoning laws are found in virtually every municipality in the United States, affecting land use, lot size, building heights, density, setbacks, and other aspects of property use.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Zoning Basics

What is Zoning? (Investopedia, Oct. 6, 2019)

CityLab University: Zoning Codes (CityLab, Aug. 6, 2019)

Zoning and Your Business Location (The Balance, Feb. 26, 2019)

Types of Zoning (FindLaw)

Impacts of Zoning

Smarter Zoning Choices Could Stimulate Growth in Greater Boston’s Housing Stock (Urban Land Magazine, Oct. 11, 2019)

Restrictive Zoning is Impeding DC’s Goal to Build More Housing (Brookings, Oct. 8, 2019)

Study: Affordable Housing Policy Backfires in Baltimore, Washington Regions (The Baltimore Sun, Sep. 25, 2019)

Upzoning Chicago: Impacts of a Zoning Reform on Property Values and Housing Construction (Urban Affairs Forum, Mar. 29, 2019)

Zoning Reform Alone Won’t Make Housing More Affordable (Bloomberg, Feb. 4, 2019)

Zoning Board​s & Legal Issues

Will the Supreme Court Strike Down Inclusionary Zoning? (CityLab, Oct. 3, 2019)

Boston’s Zoning Board is Rife with Conflicts (The Boston Globe, Sep. 29, 2019)

Zoned Out: How Zoning Law Undermines Family Law’s Functional Turn (Yale Law Journal, June 2019) E

How Zoning Regulations Create Challenges for the Regulated Cannabis Industry (Forbes, Feb. 1, 2019)

Zoning Ref​orm

How Lawmakers are Upending the California Lifestyle to Fight a Housing Shortage (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 10, 2019)

Zoning has Become a Political Lightning Rod. Just ask Des Moines (Curbed, Aug. 6, 2019)

Ben Carson Takes Aim at Single-Family Zoning (REALTOR® Magazine, Jun. 21, 2019)

Cities Start to Question an American Ideal: A House with a Yard on Every Lot (The New York Times, Jun. 18, 2019)

Section 17: Form-based Codes (NAR Growth Management Fact Book, 2011)

Useful Websites

The Codes Project: An Anthology of Regulations That Have Shaped Urban Form — A searchable archive of zoning laws, land use development codes, building design codes, and other influential documents, ranging from 360 BC to modern times

MuniCode.com Online Library (Municipal Code Corporation) — Directory of zoning and other municipal ordinance codes for many U.S. towns, cities, and counties

Form-Based Codes Institute

eBooks & Other Resources


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

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia (eBook)

Community Planning: An Introduction to the Comprehensive Plan (Kindle, Audiobook, eBook)

A Better Way to Zone: Ten Principles to Create More Livable Cities (Kindle, Audiobook, eBook)

The Complete Guide to Zoning: How Real Estate Owners and Developers Can Create and Preserve Property Value (eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. 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 Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

City Rules: How Regulations Affect Urban Form (Island Press, 2012)

The Complete Guide to Zoning: How Real Estate Owners and Developers Can Create and Preserve Property Value (McGraw-Hill, 2005)

City Economics (Harvard University Press, 2005)

Zoning and the American Dream: Promises Still to Keep (Planners Press, 1989)

The Economics of Zoning Laws (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985)

The Zoning Game Revisited (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1985)

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The inclusion of links on this page 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 page 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.


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