Effective Planning


Policymakers should enact comprehensive planning statutes, regulations, and incentives that promote:

  • coordinated land use,
  • sustainable and resilient infrastructure investment,
  • a wide range of affordable and accessible housing and transportation options,
  • positive health outcomes, and
  • effective access to amenities and delivery of services.

Planning activities and goals should be inclusive and equitable, supporting all members of the community, including residents of all ages and ability levels. This includes by creating age-friendly communities that promote the independence and active community engagement of older adults.

In working to promote affordable and accessible housing options, policymakers should provide sufficient flexibility to enable innovative housing and transportation options. They also should utilize inclusionary zoning, requiring market-rate housing developers to include some units that are affordable for those with low and moderate incomes. Those units should be developed on-site. However, to the extent that developers are allowed to pay fees into a housing trust fund to develop affordable housing elsewhere, those fees should be at least as high as the full cost of developing the affordable housing on-site and should be used to build affordable housing in the community where the market-rate development is located.

The public should have ample opportunity to provide input before policymakers make decisions on land use, housing, and transportation.

State policymakers should require local governments to plan for a variety of affordable and appropriate housing options interspersed throughout the community.

State and local policymakers should periodically publicly review infrastructure and zoning requirements to assess their impact on the availability of affordable housing and mixed-use development.

Federal policymakers should provide support for state and local governments that require technical assistance to conduct these activities successfully.

Comprehensive land-use plans that address housing and transportation should guide community design and development decisions. These plans should address related issues, including public health, pollution, and climate change.

Policymakers should conduct a health impact assessment for land-use, transportation, and community design projects. They should support coordinated efforts to improve population health by adopting a Health in All Policy.

Zoning: Policymakers should utilize affordable housing districts, inclusionary zoning, density bonuses, and other zoning regulations that promote the construction of good-quality affordable housing.

States should encourage changes in local zoning regulations to permit the development and location of accessory dwelling units, manufactured homes, multifamily projects, shared housing, and other alternative housing arrangements consistent with appropriate planning practices and fair housing laws.