Giving Compass’ Take:
• The benefits of diverse suburbs are wide-ranging for all residents. Here’s how policymakers can help generate the positive outcomes.
• What can you do to spread awareness towards the wildly beneficial nature of diverse suburbs? How can we work to push policies that continue the diversification of American neighborhoods?
Many American suburbs have relied on exclusionary zoning and land-use policies that prevent and slow development with the explicit goal of excluding low-income people of color. In effect, this hoards opportunity by limiting access to resources and amenities. But America’s suburbs are changing naturally.
Suburbs are more racially and economically diverse than they have ever been in our country’s history. And local leaders can take steps to foster even more racially and socioeconomically diverse communities that benefit all residents by providing access to transit, homeownership, good schools, and jobs. All suburban residents benefit from racial and socioeconomic diversity through reduced traffic, economic stimulation, better outcomes for children, and a stronger workforce.
Here are three evidence-based policy commitments that other areas could take to begin realizing that vision.
1. Build affordable rental housing in suburban enclaves
This vision of suburbia—one that welcomes households of different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds—requires the construction of rental housing affordable to people of low incomes in suburban, low-poverty areas. To increase inclusivity, suburban areas should consider expanding the use of federal subsidy tools in suburban communities and unraveling local resistance to affordable housing.
2. Reform restrictive zoning laws
To meet increasing demand, several localities are reforming regulations that block the development of denser, moderately priced housing through zoning restrictions or high development costs—namely, single-family zoning.
3. Make it easier for low-income renters to use housing assistance
Building more housing for families of all incomes and increasing access to affordable housing in resource-rich places will help communities meet their growing housing needs and benefit all residents. To foster inclusive, thriving, and diverse communities, suburban residents, leaders, and housing advocates should push for these innovative solutions.
Read the full article about diverse suburbs by Patrick Spauster, Mica O’Brien, and Olivia Fiol at Urban Institute.
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