Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Report: Single-family zoning dominates Bay Area housing, presenting barrier to integration

By Marc Abizeid, UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, August 11, 2020

“The report, the fifth and final installment of UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute’s “Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area” series, reveals the correlations between neighborhoods with restrictive, single-family zoning, non-single-family zoning, and their levels of segregation.

“In a first-ever for the Bay Area, the researchers mapped every jurisdiction in the region to show their proportion of single-family zoned housing. The illuminating set of maps of 66 cities across six Bay Area counties shows the regions and proportions of the cities that are zoned for single-family homes, other residential zoning, and non-residential zones.

“Because single-family zoning is a barrier to lower-income people of color, the report advocates for the loosening of restrictions on multi-unit housing as a first step in a set of remedies to the Bay Area’s widespread problem of segregation.

“Additionally, the report recommends a set of policies which data shows can promote or preserve integration when properly implemented.

“The report’s analysis of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) shows that jurisdictions where RHNA is not enforced are whiter and more likely to have a higher proportion of single-family homes than the jurisdictions where the program is implemented.

“Alarmingly, it shows that overall, segregation will continue to rise in the region, as has been the case in most counties over the past several decades.

“Using those predictions, the report suggests goals to reverse this trend.”

Click here to the full report “Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area, Part 5: Remedies, Solutions, and Targets.”

Find links to the other reports in this series, as well as an interactive map of housing segregation in the nine Bay Area counties, here.

Read the full press release here.

Return to the September issue here.