The Biden Administration reportedly considers helping the introduction of new zoning laws that might significantly affect the American suburbs.
The administration intends to push local governments to grant permissions for the construction of apartment buildings in the areas currently designated for single-family homes.
This initiative comes as a part of President Biden’s huge $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
No more single-home areas
The administration officials cited two reasons for the new change in policy.
First of all, the government plans to address the shortage of affordable housing across the country, and to do so, it will reportedly offer incentives for local governments to change local zoning laws.
Local governments that choose to permit the construction of apartment buildings in suburban single-home neighborhoods would thus be provided with tax credits and grants.
The government hopes that the introduction of these policies would help low-income people find opportunities to live in better equipped and less crowded apartment buildings.
The other reason has to do with racial injustice in the housing market.
Many government officials and experts believe that the current restrictions imposed on single-home areas favor the perpetuation of racism in the housing industry by offering racially segregated living areas.
They think that besides being expensive and therefore primarily accessible to white people, single-home areas make it harder to create a community of interaction between people of different backgrounds.
A revival of earlier policies
The recent announcement of new federal housing policies presents a reintroduction of earlier policies introduced during the Obama Administration, primarily the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH).
AFFH put an obligation to federal agencies and the recipients of federal grants to help in reducing the practices of discrimination and segregation in the housing market.
The rule was eliminated by the Trump Administration, along with a complicated data collection task imposed on federal agencies covered by AFFH.
Many commentators criticized the reintroduction of what they see as a more extreme version of AFFH.
They believe that the estimates about the way the existence of single-home areas affects discrimination are overblown.
Some of them even talked about concrete examples of neighborhoods where are no evident discriminatory practices or behaviors.