Zoning: The cause of poverty and segregation

Zoning: The cause of poverty and segregation

By Robert Orr, CT Mirror, June 16, 2020. Available Here. 

New Haven, and most Connecticut cities, have a self-inflicted problem: concentrated poverty. Concentrated poverty comes with lack of quality schools, job opportunities, safe streets, and access to quality healthcare.

Many studies now indicate that the largest cause for concentrated poverty derives from zoning codes.

Zoning Codes are a 20th century phenomenon, launched to settle disputes between neighbors. Zoning is not like building codes, seated in life safety. It is a matter of opinion. In a sense, one might think of zoning as NIMBY law.

The heavy march of returning WWII vets brought with them a new type of enterprise starved for validation. Adversaries and allies alike reported that American success was due to material superiority, and not combat prowess, which helped establish a new standard of “gigantism.” Gigantism needs validation. Zoning’s ability to align opinion did that.

“Urban Renewal” may be the most astonishing gigantism project ever concocted. Without a moment’s hesitation, hundreds of years of cultural development embodied in great American cities fell under the wrecking ball to make way for the new.

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