Overcoming Barriers to Housing Affordability Research

The United States faces a serious housing affordability crisis, and few places have succeeded in implementing policy changes at the scale needed to effectively address this crisis.

The research papers and case studies presented below were commissioned through the Lincoln Institute’s Request for Proposals on Overcoming Barriers to Housing Affordability, developed to better understand the barriers to implementing housing strategies at the necessary scale in the United States, and specific strategies to overcome those barriers.

The papers focus on a diverse set of topics:

  • Accessory dwelling units as a pathway to creating more housing in single-family neighborhoods, with case studies of Minneapolis, Portland (OR), and Seattle
  • The approval process for multi-family housing in Massachusetts, including the logic behind this complicated system and options for reform
  • Principles to build political coalitions that can effectively advance housing policies that promote affordability, with case studies of New York City, Virginia, and Washington (DC)
  • Lessons from zoning reform in Oregon
  • The impact of France’s fair-share SRU law and how a similar law could work in the United States
  • Lessons from Colorado’s effort to expand production of modular housing units

Research Papers and Case Studies

Accessory Dwelling Units and Beyond: How Can Cities Overcome Barriers to Increasing Zoning Capacity in Single-Family Neighborhoods?
Vinit Mukhija and Shine Ling

A  Reformer’s Guidebook to Zoning’s Knots: Approval Processes for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston
Amy Dain

Confronting the Real Barriers to Housing Affordability: Using Research to Assemble Durable Coalitions and Expand Political Capacity
Benjamin Teresa, Kathryn Howell, and Leah Demarest

The Eight Deaths of Portland’s Residential Infill Project
Michael Andersen

Eight Ingredients for a State-Level Zoning Reform: Lessons from Oregon’s House Bill 2001
Michael Andersen

Mandating Access to Affordable Housing, City by City: Is France’s Fair-Share SRU Law a Model for U.S. Metropolitan Areas?
Yonah Freemark

Research, Public Sector Policy Change, Advocacy, Philanthropy and the Private Sector Collide to Create an Affordable Housing and Economic Development Opportunity in Colorado: The Case of indieDwell
Phyllis Resnick and Jennifer Newcomer