What housing is to be done, who and what should decide?

header image: from title page of What Is to Be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement (1902) by V.I. Lenin (original Russian title: Что дѣлать? Наболѣвшіе вопросы нашего движенія).

What housing is to be done, who and what should decide?

earlier iteration: 

Open Inclusionary Housing: how to reform "Inclusionary Zoning [Housing]" policies for the best outcomes

[essay in progress, May 2024]

This article explores and proposes how best to implement "Inclusionary Housing" (IH) aka "Inclusionary Zoning" (IZ) policies, which require, incent, and/or fund building owners to include designated-affordable housing in their projects. 

IH/IZ policies are widely debated, and controversial, in housing; this article arose particularly around a 2024 revision of the policy in Portland, Oregon. 

Document status: I'm trying a new approach here, of a) periodically updating a working version in this main page area, and b) also using a more fluid, open, and easily edited Google Doc version -- to view and edit, use the window at bottom of page (on laptop/desktop) or click here to open with GDocs. 

Background - general 

From Wikipedia, "Inclusionary zoning": 

"Inclusionary zoning (IZ) is municipal and county planning ordinances that require or provide incentives when a given percentage of units in a new housing development be affordable by people with low to moderate incomes. Such housing is known as inclusionary housing. The term inclusionary zoning indicates that these ordinances seek to counter exclusionary zoning practices, which exclude low-cost housing from a municipality through [e.g.] the zoning code. (For example, single-family zoning makes it illegal to build multi-family apartment buildings.)...

Inclusionary zoning allows municipalities to have new affordable housing constructed without taxpayer subsidies. In order to encourage for-profit developers to build projects that include affordable units, cities often allow developers to build more total units (a "density bonus") than their zoning laws currently allow so that there will be enough profit generating market-rate units to offset the losses from the below market-rate units and still allow the project to be financially feasible.

Inclusionary zoning can be mandatory or voluntary, though the great majority of units have been built as a result of mandatory programmes.There are variations among the set-aside requirements (percentage of units set-aside for low-income residents), affordability levels (what income level is considered "low-income"), and length of time the unit is deed-restricted as affordable housing."

"The mix of "affordable housing" and "market-rate" housing in the same neighborhood is seen as beneficial by city planners and sociologists...Economists state that IZ functions as a price control on a percentage of units and has similar negative effects as other price controls (rent control) being that it discourages the supply of new housing. It can also be understood similar to impact fees as an "inclusionary tax" on market-rate units which raises the prices of new non-price-controlled units in that development and thereby diminishes the financial incentive to create new housing.

Background: Portland

Michael Anderson Jan 17 2024 Op-ed

Michael Anderson. "Opinion: How Portland’s inclusionary housing program can deliver on its affordable housing promise." The Oregonian, Jan. 17, 2024. https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/2024/01/opinion-how-portlands-inclusionary-housing-program-can-deliver-on-its-affordable-housing-promise.html

Response, counter-proposal, testimony from Tim McCormick, Jan 17 2024

Open draft / notes document:

see in window below (desktop/laptop), or click here to open in Google Docs

What housing is to be done?