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ZONED IN - Zoning Education Initiative

Housing advocates and practitioners in Virginia agree that in order to create affordable, livable, and equitable communities, we need to address zoning barriers first. ZONED IN is HousingForward Virginia’s initiative to unpack the consequences of existing local land use regulations and build support for lasting solutions. We’re piloting this initiative with a regional focus on Hampton Roads in 2023.

Zoning presents us with three big challenges.

  • Most people don’t understand what zoning is, how it functions in local government, and why it matters to them.
  • Most people don’t understand how zoning impacts housing affordability, racial equity, economic opportunity, and other measures of success.
  • Most people don’t know what to do about zoning to help better their communities.

ZONED IN responds to these challenges.

ZONED IN will provide clear and accessible information to help people understand what zoning is and how it affects housing across the Commonwealth. Here are some parts the initiative includes:

  • ZONED OUT was our initial launch into the world of zoning. This pre-conference session from the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference featured stories from expert thinkers and practitioners on how zoning shapes our lives.
  • Our Zoning Reform Tracker is a frequently updated tool to understand what steps localities in Virginia are taking to make zoning work better for their communities. We also include notable state and local efforts from across the nation.
  • Our online Zoning 101 Toolkit provides a baseline understanding of zoning and how it functions in Virginia. This resource includes accessible materials to explain why zoning matters, along with visual aids to help unpack complex concepts and ideas.
  • The Virginia Zoning Atlas is our ongoing collaborative effort to map and standardize zoning across the Commonwealth. The Atlas helps visualize the impact of zoning on housing development and allows for cross-jurisdictional comparisons for deeper zoning analysis.
  • Regionally-focused research and events will follow the progressive completion of regions for the Virginia Zoning Atlas. Presentations of new data and analysis from completed stages of the Virginia Zoning Atlas will bring stakeholders together to see how local zoning affects housing supply and affordability, as well as explore their local challenges and opportunities through panels and discussion.

Donate to the Virginia Zoning Atlas

You can directly support the work of the Virginia Zoning Atlas by donating to HousingForward Virginia. Please include a note indicating that your donation is for the Virginia Zoning Atlas.

Start local, think regional.

Because housing markets are regional, we believe that examining zoning regionally is the most effective way to address the issues that matter most to housing affordability. The Virginia Zoning Atlas is an opportunity to use new data and research to foster regional zoning conversations. As we come to your region to work on the Virginia Zoning Atlas, we want to host Regional Atlas Forums that expand the discussion on zoning and its impacts.

What will these Regional Atlas Forums look like?

  • HousingForward Virginia will present the data and results from the completion of the regional zoning atlas.
  • Local developers will talk about the issues they faced in getting approval on housing and mixed use developments, or even the failure to bring a project to ground.
  • Experts in their field will talk about how zoning impacts their work outside of housing. From economic development to transportation, it’s all impacted by zoning!
  • Best practices and potential solutions will be explored through real examples across the state and nation.

All along the way, we’ll be informed by a Regional Work Group of invested leaders who understand that zoning matters to their work. They’ll tell us how best to communicate zoning’s impact to their clients, members, colleagues, and neighbors.

The first of these regional forums is taking place in Hampton Roads on October 13, 2023.

Once the Hampton Roads Zoning Atlas is complete, HousingForward hopes to take the project into the Richmond region (PlanRVA). If you are interested in bringing your region into the Zoning Atlas, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Our Sponsors

Virginia Housing
Hampton Roads Community Foundation
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Sentara Health
Wells Fargo
Atlantic Union Bank
LISC Hampton Roads
Virginia Community Capital
Virginia REALTORS®
Williamsburg Health Foundation

Become a sponsor for ZONED IN Hampton Roads

Click the button for more details. If you’re interested in sponsoring this initiative for a different region in the future, or have other questions, fill out the contact form below.

Contact Us

Questions about ZONED IN? Interested in sponsoring the initiative? Want to volunteer for the Virginia Zoning Atlas? Let us know.