The Dream Revisited
Discussion 26: Local Control, Affordable Housing, and Segregation

Discussion 26: Local Control, Affordable Housing, and Segregation

March 2019

This debate explores how local control in land use decision-making may influence the availability of affordable housing and contribute to economic and racial segregation. Featuring four essays from legal scholars, practitioners, and advocates, the new discussion weighs the potential benefits and drawbacks of “scaling up” the zoning process, and moving land use decision-making towards the city, state, or regional level.


  • A Not-So-Quiet Revolution in Land-Use Law? Scaling Up the Zoning Process

    by David Schleicher, Roderick M. Hills

    David Schleicher of Yale School of Law and Roderick M. Hills of NYU School of Law argue that local opposition to development is a key factor in our affordability crisis and in economic segregation. Scaling up decisions to the citywide, regional, or statewide level, would put them in the hands of “those who have an incentive to care about the size of the housing stock.” To succeed, cities and states would need firm pre-commitments to certain levels of housing construction.


  • Justice Zoning: Without it, We Invite History to Repeat Itself

    by Lorraine Y. Collins

    Lorraine Y. Collins of Enterprise Community Partners notes that policies can be exclusionary at all levels government, and that only intentionally inclusive land use decisions will address segregation. She recommends strategies for incorporating a fair housing lens into affordable housing policy.

  • Housing Discrimination and Local Control

    by Elaine Gross

    Elaine Gross of ERASE Racism writes about resistance to local control, highlighting how it has perpetuated racism and segregation on Long Island. Her piece walks through litigation and jurisprudence on fair housing, right up through cases recently decided or pending.

  • Beware of False Choices

    by John Shapiro

    John Shapiro of the Pratt Institute proposes a grand bargain: a statewide fair share program modeled on Mount Laurel. He describes how this bargain would look both in and outside New York City, and argues for allowing localities to control questions of “how” and not “whether” development will occur.

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