Zoning and Urban Containment: The Need for Clarity

It is a terrible mistake to be confusing ALL zoning rules with the single true determinant of inequity in housing and economic mobility.

That is, can rural land at rural land prices, be converted to urban use?

This suppresses the price of all urban land to the extent that it is such a small input into “housing costs” relative to the cost of structures, it is very hard to push “house prices” up into unaffordable territory.

There is absolutely no city in the UK that does not have “house prices” at least double the price of the affordable, median-multiple-3 cities of the USA, in spite of the UK cities being 4 to 10 times denser than the US examples.

As long as you have urban planning or proxies for it, that rations the overall land supply, site values are highly elastic to allowed density, so much so that density correlates the wrong way with “affordability”.

This is a very important lesson that needs to be understood, fast, or there will be years or even decades of wrong policy made.