Before the real estate bubble burst, there was an emerging literature on the link between government regulation of housing and home prices. Heightened zoning restrictions, the conclusions went, drove up the cost of housing. Now the Brookings Institution has added something new to consider: Zoning regulations are segregating cities by income and race and leaving quality schools available to mostly higher income families.
Housing costs are 2.4 times greater near a better performing school.
After surveying 100 metropolitan areas, Brookings analyst Jonathan Rothwell found that housing costs are 2.4 times greater near a better performing school, as judged by state test scores, than near a lower performing school. Zoning, Rothwell told Education Week, “is an underlying problem.” Exclusionary zoning has priced lower income families out of high-flying schools in higher-flying neighborhoods where population density is low by government design and where fewer people own larger houses and more acres of land.
By loosening or even eliminating restrictive zoning, cities may see housing cost gaps narrow by as much as 63 percentage points and see school achievement gaps narrow as a result, Rothwell writes.
Naturally, Rothwell has an affinity for school choice, including district choice plans, charter schools,...