Last Updated on April 29, 2021
“Suburbia will be no longer as we know it,” President Donald Trump warned on the campaign trail. He told voters that Biden wanted to get rid of single-family zoning, laws which require that only typical suburbia homes may be built in residential areas, which he warned would bring “who knows into your suburbs, so your communities will be unsafe and your housing values will go down.”
Now, it seems, Joe Biden is proving him correct. In a White House issued ‘fact sheet’ for Biden’s radical infrastructure bill, he “calls on Congress to enact an innovative, new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing.” Many believe this suggests Biden wants Section 8 Housing in suburbs nationwide, fundamentally changing the concept of suburbs.
Biden advocated for eliminating “exclusionary zoning” on the campaign trail last year, in the name of reducing racial inequity. Among other promises to institute and re-institute anti-suburban policies, Biden vowed he would “invest $300 million in Local Housing Policy Grants to give states and localities the technical assistance and planning support they need to eliminate exclusionary zoning policies and other local regulations.”
The move comes as something of a continuation of Obama-era policies. The 2015 Obama-era policy Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) essentially declared that majority white suburbs were the product of discrimination and discriminatory practice and required suburbs to reevaluate their practices if they wanted money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It is plausible that this is simply a grab for political power. Suburbs are historically more Republican, while those who benefit the most from Section 8 Housing trend Democrat. Biden may be trying to cement his party’s power by permanently cementing democrat control in areas which are already trending blue.
The infrastructure bill is expected to stall in the Senate. However, there may actually be bipartisan support for Biden’s plan to socially engineer the suburbs: establishment Republican Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), who voted to impeach President Trump, said that suburban zoning restrictions “sometimes do great harm by pricing low-income and minority families out of neighborhoods and reducing the support of affordable housing for such families.” He went on to declare that “we should not keep American families in dilapidated and segregated housing projects.”