This demonstrates how U.S. housing and transportation policy encouraged sprawling, car-dependent housing development that has reinforced social and racial inequity while increasing carbon emissions. The era of the greatest growth in housing abundance in the U.S.—the 1970s—was simultaneously associated with urban sprawl, car reliance, environmental degradation, and disinvestment in historic city centers, all of which reinforced segregated living patterns and reinforced social inequity.
New federal infrastructure funding and related policies provide an opportunity to reverse these trends by encouraging coordination of metropolitan housing and transportation plans. Federal funds can also be leveraged to support projects that maximize access to transit and promote the joint development of housing. States and local governments, too, can advance transit-oriented housing abundance. Through zoning reforms, public investments, and strategic planning processes that leverage both housing and transportation resources, it is possible to produce communities that are less car-reliant and offer residents lower costs of living.
Author: Yonah Freemark, Urban Institute