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The Potential for Land Use and Housing Reform to Address School Segregation and Educational Opportunity

Housing, land use, and zoning policies are often siloed in such a way that they are considered and addressed separately from school segregation and students’ opportunities to learn. But these policy areas can interact in powerful ways. This policy brief attempts to break down those siloes. Drawing on multiple bodies of literature, it explores what we know about the potential of housing and land use policy reform to address school segregation—and why doing so matters. The research reviewed here illuminates the close historical and legal relationship between school and housing segregation and the clear links between land use policy and school and housing segregation. Studies also show that where land use or housing reforms have enabled greater access to less segregated schools, historically marginalized students’ outcomes have improved. The brief concludes with recommendations for policymakers to offer pathways to diverse, well-resourced schools for historically marginalized families, along with oversight and enforcement that considers school-housing interrelationships.

Suggested Citation: Siegel-Hawley, G. (2024). The potential for land use and housing reform to address school segregation and educational opportunity. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from