Call for Papers

Learning from Land Use Reforms: Housing Outcomes and Regulatory Change

This Call for Papers is now closed.

The NYU Furman Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts are seeking proposals for a series of papers studying the effects of changes to land use law. In city halls and state capitals, new energy exists to reform land use laws with the goal of building neighborhoods and regions that are more affordable, more equitable, more sustainable, and more economically vibrant. While recent scholarship continues to unlock important insights about the relationships between land use regulations, housing production, and the shape of our cities, more work is needed to help cities and states develop a practical toolkit of reforms. This series of papers aims to understand how specific land use reforms—whether substantive revisions to particular provisions of zoning or building codes or procedural reforms of the land use process—have affected outcomes on the ground, especially with respect to residential development.

Projects that are selected will receive editorial support from the NYU Furman Center, funds for necessary research support, and publication as part of this series. After publication, projects will receive further support from the Pew Charitable Trusts to help disseminate key findings in clear and accessible formats, from shorter policy briefs to animated videos, with the intent of providing policymakers more clarity on the land use tools at their disposal.

Papers may analyze any aspect of land use regulation, though they should focus on questions of what took place after a policy change. For example:

  • If a city loosened its parking requirements, how many developments, of what kind and in what locations (if any), used that flexibility to build less parking?
  • If a state attempted to streamline land use approvals for affordable housing, what kinds of projects availed themselves of that process, and were timelines in fact faster or more predictable?
  • If a city changed its zoning to allow by-right accessory dwelling units or duplexes, how many were produced? How did their rents or sales prices compare with existing housing? What can be discovered about their occupants and any effect the units had on racial or economic segregation?

Papers in this series need not resolve the most difficult questions of causation (i.e., did the rezoning reduce rents or trigger increased displacement, compared to a counterfactual?); a descriptive focus on the direct effects of the changes to the land use regulation would be of great interest. We expect most papers will focus on one jurisdiction, but broader investigations are extremely welcome.

Papers updating past research with up-to-date data or extending a study to new locations are also invited. All methodological approaches, including qualitative research, are welcome, and we hope to highlight a diverse group of authors and perspectives in this series. The deadline for first drafts of papers will be set at roughly seven months after proposals are selected.

To apply, please submit a proposal, limited to one page in length, explaining the project’s topic, research questions, methods, and any other relevant information, along with a CV or biographic statement showing your experience. Submissions should also include contact information. The deadline for submissions will be October 15, 2021. Submissions should be sent to [email protected] Questions are encouraged and should also be sent to [email protected]; we are eager to work with interested researchers to develop their proposals to fit the series’ needs.