System Alignment. 

Housing Regulation's Impact:

Questions and Visualizations

What percentage of new homes do not need to get through the Land Use System? 

Well, to help you determine that here are some statistics.

This information is from a data set we created by matching nearly a fourth of our land use application to their corresponding data points in our building permit data set. From there, we extrapolated to provide more metrics. 

Of housing given permits to be built from 2010 to the present,  a little less than

1 in 10

homes were categorized as multi family homes (homes with 3 or more new units.)

However, of the past 10 years of zoning (land use)  applications, over

1 in 5

were for homes of 3 units or larger. 

This means that around 


of single family homes and duplexes did not need to get through zoning. Over the last 10 years, that means more than 1800 developments got to skip zoning.


Are the homes which are able to skip the first system more expensive homes?​

Well, to help you determine that here's a brief explanation, a statistic, and a graph.

The data used to provide this information is from building permit data (2010-2020). 

Why does this matter?

As demonstrated above, Portland's land use review system indirectly incentivizes the production of low-density housing by allowing most of them to bypass the system entirely. Additionally, as you can see, low-density housing tends to be significantly more expensive per unit. This means it is easier for higher income or wealth households to create the new homes they desire. 

In fact, single-family homes, duplexes, and two-unit townhomes are almost 


as expensive per unit as units in larger developments.



Understanding This Section:


In the process of analyzing, visualizing, and presenting this data--we have learned a lot . Below are some of the most salient insights we have found. 


We encourage you not to stop with just the insights we have below, but instead, we ask that you make use of our visualizations and try to find more.

  • Most single-family housing seems to be able to skip the land use system.

  • Single-family housing tends to be more expensive than multi-unit housing; one can hypothesize that the land use review system indirectly contributes to unaffordable housing by incentivizing the production of single-family housing.