After decades of the federal government playing a limited role in local land-use regulations, there is renewed interest on both sides of the aisle for a stronger federal effort to rein in restrictive zoning laws.

Recently, President Trump signed an executive order establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing, which is charged with quantifying the effects of local zoning laws and other regulatory barriers on housing markets and recommending “best practices for removal.” And most of the Democratic presidential candidates who have offered housing solutions in their policy platforms include ideas to ease local land-use restrictions.

The motivation for this renewed interest shouldn’t be surprising: housing costs continue to grow faster than incomes in most metropolitan areas, and no US county has enough affordable housingfor its low-income renters. Local zoning laws and other land-use regulations suppress supply and drive up housing costs, though by how much is hard to quantify because of a lack of reliable and consistent data.

But will deregulatory strategies actually work? State and local governments are increasingly experimenting with zoning and land-use reforms aimed at unleashing housing supply and improving affordability. But many of these reforms are still relatively new, and few have been rigorously studied.

Read the full article about zoning laws and regulations by Solomon Greene at Urban Institute.