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Thinking about the Intersections of Zoning, Affordable Housing, and the Climate Crisis

Class of 2022
Environmental Studies – Sociology
Educational Studies
Hi there! My name is Rosie Gotsch and am from Beverly, MA. I'm graduating from St. Lawrence University in December 2022. My Summer Research Fellowship project combines my studies at St. Lawrence as well as my career aspirations. I am an Environmental Studies- Sociology combined major and Education minor. After...
Summer 2022

Today, 75% of residential land in the United States is zoned for detached single-family homes. This means that anything other than detached single family homes including apartments, low-income housing, senior living, and student housing are prohibited in these areas. Zoning regulations are the foundation of city planning, making them a fundamental aspect of society to evaluate when assessing the future of our nation.

In my project, I argue that current zoning regulations that largely favor single-family homes make building affordable housing more difficult and are a major hurdle in responding to the climate crisis. These two seemingly unrelated issues are interrelated and can be addressed together by modifying our current zoning regulations to limit our greenhouse gas emissions and expand affordable housing.