Separate and Unequal: The American Dream Unfulfilled

19 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2015 Last revised: 26 Jun 2015

Date Written: June 14, 2015


Exclusionary zoning has become the center of an increasingly visible and volatile public debate. Fueled by skyrocketing rates of population and consumption, this debate challenges the fundamental assumptions of what makes a built environment good. Objective issues, such as the cost of low-density settlements or the link between environmental harms and Euclidean growth, have traditionally emerged at the forefront of the political and legal discourse. Yet, what is actually at stake are much larger questions about planning and democracy, justice and ethics, and differing class-based assumptions about what makes a good urban life. This article explores these issues in light of the disparate impact of exclusionary zoning, and seeks to answer the question of whether municipalities can justly enforce exclusionary zoning laws at all.

Keywords: exclusionary zoning, Euclid v. Amber Realty Co., single-use, urban sprawl, affordable housing, Fair Housing Act, social exclusivity, disparate impact, housing discrimination, segregation, equal opportunity, Plato, The Republic, advantage of the stronger, CRITS, postmodernism, utilitarianism, Kant

JEL Classification: D60, D63, D70, D71, J68, J70, J71, J78, J79, K00, K10, K11, K19, K30, K32, K39, K40, K49, O10, O20

Suggested Citation

LaGreca, Peter C., Separate and Unequal: The American Dream Unfulfilled (June 14, 2015). 16 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 183 (2015), Available at SSRN:

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