Political Ecology of Zoning

A report analyzing the effects of zoning laws, using rGIS, spatially weighted regression, and shiny. Data pulled from US Census and CDC datasets.

The abstract of the first draft is produced below:

This paper sets out to examine the means through which the power relations embedded in the political economy of public goods are perpetuated. Specifically, the aim is to establish one concrete mechanism, the policy of zoning, through which public goods – including education, transportation infrastructure, and waste management infrastructure – are inequitably distributed, and how that phenomenon helps cement the political and socioeconomic divides which help create it. Using as a case study two cities in the state of Texas, namely Houston and Austin, with vastly different policies of zoning I argue that both policies are help to perpetuate economic and social divides, primarily through perpetuating those same divides in the access, upkeep, and creation of public goods. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and the Houston Department for Health and Human Services, the effects of those disparities in access to public goods upon the health outcomes of Houston’s and Austin’s residents will be discussed as a means of showing how the political economy of public goods, as perpetuated through zoning, has material effects which help perpetuate class inequality. Finally, an analytical framework to help reduce disparities in access to public goods for policy makers who need to make policy decisions about zoning will be developed.