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Affordable Housing, Jane Jacobs, And New Challenges In Urban Planning

Today on Federalist Radio, Emily Washington explains the intersection of free markets and urban planning.


Emily Washington, policy research manager at the Mercatus Center and writer at, studies land-use regulation and policy as it relates to urban development. Washington joined the Federalist Radio Hour to discuss the current state of affordable housing, zoning issues, Jane Jacobs, and transportation.

The marketplace in urban areas faces a challenge in supplying the higher number of millennials and their housing needs, and government often feels pressure to weigh in. “A lot of cities are revisiting their planning codes and in many cases adopting more liberal codes that are improved for denser and mixed-use development, but it’s often a very long and difficult process because homeowners want to keep things the way they are,” Washington said.

Jane Jacobs advocated for diverse, walkable, and mixed-use neighborhoods. Many modern city planners agree with her views, but often fail to create policies that reflect her ideas. “To the extent that cities are willing to pursue deregulation, allowing more freedom for developers to build what they see consumers demanding, that will get us closer to Jane Jacobs’ approach to urban development,” she said.

Later in the hour, Domenech and Washington discussed the overlapping patterns of crime, subsidized housing, and anti-poverty programs.

Listen now: