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Zoned Out: Regulation, Markets, and Choices in Transportation and Metropolitan Land Use 1st Edition
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*Levine shows how rare infill is in single-family zones. Because local politicians rigidly prohibit any attempts to add new housing in already developed single-use zones, single-family neighborhoods are never transformed as a region grows. For example, in Massachusetts only 3 of 351 communities experienced a loss of single-family acres between 1970 and 1999. So as a result, landowners' only way of accommodating new housing demand is to build further out in suburbia.
*Levine discusses surveys of developers showing that government regulation consistently forces them to make development less compact. 78% of developers responded that regulation was a "significant barrier" to more compact development. By contrast, only 35% cited financing as a barrier, and only 26% cited insufficient market interest.
*Levine discusses a survey of renters and homeowners in Boston and Atlanta, asking them to make tradeoffs between space and transit/pedestrian-friendliness. He found that in more sprawling Atlanta, development is actually LESS likely to reflect consumer preferences than in more compact Boston. Among the 25% of people with the most pedestrian-oriented preferences, only 7% lived in the most pedestrian-friendly parts of the metro area (as opposed to 25% in Boston). And of that group, 38% of Atlantans lived in the MOST auto-oriented areas (as opposed to 6% of Bostonians). Why? Perhaps because there is little pre-auto stock in Atlanta- which means that thanks to Atlanta's anti-density zoning, pedestrian-friendly housing has never been built in large enough quantities to meet demand. By contrast, in Boston much of the housing stock was built before zoning, which means there is (or more accurately, was before the 2000s housing bubble) an ample supply of pre-auto housing available to meet demand for pedestrian-friendly development.
*Levine demolishes the argument that smart-growth planners are forcing people into higher densities. He asserts that this is simply impossible: that planners can mandate high density, but developers can always avoid such a mandate by building elsewhere. By contrast, low-density mandates can't be avoided so easily: developers would rather turn a profit building to (low) allowable densities than not build at all, and low-density zoning is so widespread as to be unavoidable.