Is Smart Growth Smart for Low-Income Households: A Study of the Impact of Four Smart Growth Principles on the Supply of Affordable Housing
This research tests the relationship between each of four smart growth principles and the supply of affordable housing for low-income households. The four principles are higher residential density, a variety of housing options, mixed land use, and the preservation of open space. The relationships are tested at the neighborhood level in two different types of metropolitan regions, those with an urban containment policy to combat sprawl and those without. Four regions were chosen to represent two pairs. Each pair consisted of two regions which had similar urban containment policies at one point in time and different policies at a second point. By comparing regression analyses from these two points in time, the research design can detect the influence of urban containment on the relationships among the specific smart growth principles and the supply of affordable units.
The first pair of regions is of Portland and Seattle. Urban growth boundaries were present in the Portland region in 1990, but not in the Seattle region. Such boundaries were present in both regions in 2000. The second pair consists of the regions of Baltimore and Philadelphia. Neither region had urban containment in 1990, but priority funding areas were established throughout the Baltimore region by 2000.
The research provides evidence for the following conclusions. First, a variety of housing options, specifically the availability of multi-unit structures, is associated with a greater supply of affordable rental units. Second, greater residential density in general is typically associated with a greater supply of affordable rental units. Third, a variety of housing options better explains the variation in the supply of affordable units than a general measure of density. Fourth, urban containment policies do not influence the relationships between the smart growth principles and the supply of affordable housing. A policy implication of these conclusions is that growth management mandates to increase residential density should also specify the type of housing developed if growth management is to have positive consequences for the supply of affordable units.
Advisor:Stephen Farber, PhD; John Engberg, PhD; Sabina Deitrick, PhD; Angela Williams Foster, PhD
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:public and international affairs
Date of Publication:12/16/2007