Monday, March 26, 2007

No zoning, many apartments; more zoning, fewer apartments? ...

  One consequence of Houston's famous lack of comprehensive zoning may be that Houston holds one of the nation's highest percentage of rental units (only 46 % of Houston's households own).  I suspect that this is because it is easier and quicker for developers to build apartment buildings in Houston.

Houston    Houstonians have consistently rejected proposals to introduce comprehensive zoning -- another example of Americans' preference for the status quo in their communities.  But there is a growing call to do something to stop large new apartment construction in Houston.  I'd be sad to see the change made, if only that the large number of apartments in Houston (unlike in its suburbs) shows what the future of American cities will be like (and the large number of apartments provided welcome homes for Katrina refuges in 2005), and because the relatively low cost of rental units Houston is attributable in large part to the lack of restrictive zoning laws.

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The lack of zoning controls in Houston provide for the regulation free laboratory where the market is dominant. Do anyone know of any research or study to compare Houston with other similar cities or counties that have chosen not to regulate through zoning? Does zoning have any real beneficial effect at the regional level without a regional zoning authority?

Posted by: David Basil | Mar 27, 2007 10:54:14 AM