The New Redlining: How Progressive Policies Restrict the Development of Housing Supply and Perpetuate America's Racist Property Law Past

50 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2024

See all articles by Steve Calandrillo

Steve Calandrillo

University of Washington - School of Law

Kelsey Dunn

University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2024

Abstract

Recent scholarship has exposed America’s racist property law past. During the twentieth century, decades of deliberate state-sponsored discrimination (a.k.a., “Redlining”) made homeownership—and the accumulation of wealth—more difficult for people of color. In 1948, the Supreme Court outlawed these practices in the seminal case, Shelly v. Kraemer. However, the damage had been done, and has proven to be long-lasting. Redlining slowed economic mobility for people of color and exacerbated the racial wealth gap. As a result, America is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis that disproportionately impacts people of color.

Readers well versed in economics and public policy know that the solution to this crisis is relatively simple: build as much housing as possible, as fast as possible. However, local governments have failed to heed this common-sense remedy to boost supply. Restrictive zoning rules—like single-family zoning—limit neighborhood density. Meanwhile, development fees and regulatory delays disincentivize new construction, and skew development that does occur towards luxury projects. Indeed, some of these laws and regulations are passed by well-intentioned progressives seeking to “stick it” to capitalistic developers. However, by hindering development, these policies only serve to exacerbate the affordable housing crisis and perpetuate the racial wealth gap. As such, these policies must be called out for what they really are: the “New Redlining.”

This article unapologetically advocates for the abolition of the New Redlining. Local governments must eliminate the laws and regulations that hinder the development of adequate housing supply. However, from a pragmatic perspective, this article also recognizes that—given the desires of local officials to retain control—the implementation of the necessary reforms will need to occur at the local level. Therefore, instead of prescribing broad pieces of preemptive legislation, this article advocates for an innovative approach: the adoption of permitting processes and appeals systems that prevent cities from unduly rejecting or delaying affordable housing development (i.e., housing appeals statutes). In effect, make the New Redlining far more difficult for cities to get away with.

Keywords: redlining, zoning, housing appeals statutes, racial wealth gap, New Deal Redlining

Suggested Citation

Calandrillo, Steve and Dunn, Kelsey, The New Redlining: How Progressive Policies Restrict the Development of Housing Supply and Perpetuate America's Racist Property Law Past (February 1, 2024). 77 Florida Law Review, Forthcoming (2024-25), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4744125

Steve Calandrillo (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States
206-685-2403 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: https://www.law.washington.edu/directory/profile.aspx?ID=123

Kelsey Dunn

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
73
Abstract Views
313
Rank
597,036
PlumX Metrics