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Local Policy Options to Support Sustainable and Equitable Development


As the median age of the United States continues to grow older, many localities are recognizing the benefits of targeting infrastructure, housing, and economic development investments in a coordinated fashion in support of enhancing “location-efficient areas.” The Center for Housing Policy produced this report to summarize policy options available to local officials interested in supporting areas that provide equitable access to public transit, minimize displacement of existing residents, increase the diversity and vitality of communities, and advance public health goals. Ideally, all of which can be done in a manner that encourages equitable (as in across all income levels), location-efficient growth.

Key Points

This report, funded by the Fund for the Environment and Urban Life, provides detailed examples of policy options available to accomplish these objectives. Major benefits of these policies include savings on public infrastructure costs, reductions in energy use, increased ridership on public transit, and economic growth from the clustering of people, jobs, and businesses. Policy options available to communities include:

  1. Promotion of compact development patterns by modifying land use regulations to allow higher-density development.
  2. Creation of supportive regulatory framework by addressing unnecessary parking requirements, disproportionate infrastructure impact fees, and lengthy permitting and approval processes.
  3. Support and acquisition of well-located land through the identification of underutilized public land, and programs designed to acquire sites near transit stations and other amenities.
  4. Capture a portion of the value generated by market-rate development to support affordable homes through inclusionary housing policies, tax increment, and linkage fees.
  5. Preserve and extend the availability of affordable homes in location-efficient areas to protect against the displacement of low- and moderate-income households.

How to Use

Equitable, sustainable development can benefit a community in a number of ways.Policy makers and local officials can use this report to generate ideas for the creation of location-efficient communities.

View full report: Local Policy Options to Support Sustainable and Equitable Development (PDF – 1.3 MB)

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