America has a housing shortage. Zoning changes near transit could help. by Urban Institute
Housing availability in cities across America is failing to keep up with growing populations. To address this crisis, policymakers have begun to reconsider local zoning laws - the rules that limit the size and types of housing that can be developed in a given area. By updating these rules, cities have the potential to dramatically increase the supply of available housing and create thriving urban centers for people to live and work. The Urban Institute, in collaboration with Decimal Point Studio, created this interactive story and web tool to illustrate the various zoning reforms currently debated across the country, and to model how these changes would impact one of the fastest growing metros in the nation - the Seattle/Tacoma region of Washington state. The proposed zoning reforms are introduced using a fictionalized city to describe the changes each reform could bring about in a generalized manner that could apply to neighborhoods anywhere in the country. An interactive map allows viewers to take these ideas and see how they play out in the real world by leveraging modeled housing data for the Seattle/Tacoma metro area compiled by Urban Institute researchers. Viewers can explore how each zoning reform impacts housing availability near transit centers across 30+ cities in the metro area, superimposed against a choice of demographic layers like median household income.