Case studies have been prepared for a number of inclusionary housing programs in the US and in Canada.
The Wellesley Institute sponsored the preparation of these case studies, in order to provide a better understanding of how they work and what they have achieved.
These case studies are based upon a review of the available literature on these programs as well as current municipal regulations and in-house reports, and also interviews with the program administrators and other key staff.
All of these examples, despite their many differences, are inclusionary housing programs. By this it is meant that they all in some way rely upon municipal regulatory and approval powers to require private developers of market housing to provide for affordable housing according to codified requirements imposed consistently on all or most new housing developments.
This distinguishes them from incentive-based inclusionary policies that are applied ad hoc and on occasional sites, mainly those of the developers’ choosing. This distinction is important because the former programs have been shown capable of producing affordable housing on an on-going basis, and the latter policies have not.
The six American case studies are drawn from among the better-known and generally more successful of these programs. They were also selected to include examples from communities of different sizes and from various locations across the US. While each illustrates different and often innovative approaches, they all conform to the basic inclusionary zoning model used across that country.
The three Canadian case studies include the most comparable examples of inclusionary programs in this country. None of these can be called inclusionary zoning; the Canadian practices to date are different to those in the US in many important and fundamental ways, due in large part to the more limited powers available to municipalities in this country. Unlike in the US, no common inclusionary model has evolved in Canada, but these examples do share certain features that could provide the basis for such a model.