The Social Divide of Urban Land-Use Regulatory Changes: Evidence from Chile
38 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2023
Date Written: January 27, 2023
Urban land-use regulations define how cities physically grow, but also have a significant impact on social and economic relationships within urban areas. Studies have shown that homeowners often influence these regulations to prevent densification in well-located neighborhoods in big cities, contributing to the affordability housing crisis. Our analysis of a unique database of lots in Santiago, Chile, comprising an urban area of approximately 151 square kilometers, found that the share of high-income residents is strongly associated with maintaining a regulatory status quo, preventing denser housing projects from being built. This association is particularly strong in areas primarily composed of single-family housing, and is not affected by access to transportation networks or the size of the area involved in zoning changes. Our findings suggest that socioeconomic status plays a key role in urban politics in unequal and segregated cities.
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