Study Ranks 23 GGH Municipalities According to the Restrictiveness of Their Residential Land-Use Regulation
By: Cameron Macdonald, B.A., 4th Year Student in Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University, and Researcher at the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development
September 23, 2016
The Fraser Institute recently released a cross-Canada study that empirically examines the relationship between municipal land use regulation and the supply of new housing.(1)
There are two components of the research undertaken by the Fraser Institute which should be of interest for those involved in land use planning and urban policy in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH):
- The creation of a framework for empirically measuring land use regulation in municipalities in terms of its impact on the supply of new housing in individual municipalities; and
- The collection and manipulation of information from a survey of developers and homebuilders which is used to compile an index of residential land-use regulation for each of 23 municipalities located in the GGH.
This blog post presents the survey-based measures of regulation for each of five individual regulation measures and a composite index of residential land use regulation for 23 municipalities within the GGH, as calculated in the Frazer Institute study.(2)
This is the first time I have seen a comparison of the residential land-use regulation systems by municipality within the GGH. Undoubtedly, there will be disagreement with the categorization of individual municipalities. This would not be surprising since the Fraser Institute’s survey included just 58 homebuilders and developers who each on average answered questions for 8.1 municipalities. Only municipalities with 3 or more responses are excluded. The analysis covers 23 municipalities.
The Fraser Institute’s research represents a starting point for a more fulsome categorization of municipalities within the GGH according to the restrictiveness of their land use regulation for the production of new housing.
Description of the Framework for the Calculation of Residential Land Use Regulation in Municipalities
The Fraser Institute’s composite index of residential land-use regulation is based on what the Fraser Institute identified as five factors (attributes) of planning regulation: approval timelines, council and community opposition, ‘costs and fees,’ timeline uncertainty; and the prevalence of rezoning. Each of these five factors is detailed in Figure 1.