This report reviews the affordable housing mandates that have been used by uppertier jurisdictions in the US and Canada. The mandates include those in the four states of New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Connecticut; the two provinces of British Columbia and Ontario; and the two metropolitan areas of Portland, Oregon and Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota (also called the Twin Cities).
These mandates in various but similar ways harness the planning regulations and associated development approval process to assist in the provision of affordable housing.
These mandates go well beyond expecting municipalities to use what might be called good planning practices — like providing sufficient development land, zoning for higher densities and cutting municipal red tape.
Under these mandates, municipalities are obliged to support the provision of affordable housing in an affirmative way. That means that the municipalities are required to assist in some way that will lower the cost of the housing, and make it affordable specifically to lower-income households.
These mandates set quantified targets for the municipalities as a way of defining their obligations or measuring their performance. In some cases, these targets are set through a specific allocation assigned to each municipality, and in others, through a standard minimum quota applied to all.