“Land use” refers to the ways in which we use and manage land – whether for business and industry, recreation, environmental preservation, agriculture and farming, transportation, or housing.
Land use policy directly impacts housing values and affordability because it designates where housing can be built in relation to other uses. Housing can be near “desirable” uses such as parks or employment, or near “undesirable” (but still necessary) uses such as landfills or industry.
The “less desirable” areas often offer little opportunity to residents, but can be the only places that low-income and working-class households can afford to live. As a result, these households may have limited access to jobs, high quality education, and needed services. They may also be exposed to higher health risks as a result of neighboring land uses.
And finally, as cities redevelop and gentrify, affordable homes are increasingly being found even farther away from urban centers, in areas without public transit, with the result that households pay higher shares of their incomes on transportation.
All of this compounds to place already vulnerable families and individuals at even greater disadvantages.
Housing Land Advocates seeks to place housing at the forefront of land use planning efforts, and to influence policies and decision-making structures that create and perpetuate barriers to opportunity for so many Oregonians.
To learn more about the intersections between land use and affordable housing in Oregon, follow the links below:
For information on housing resources in Oregon, click here.