Kenzo Asahi, Diego Gil, Andrea Herrera, Javier Peñafiel, Hugo E. Silva
Urban land-use regulations define how cities physically grow, but also have a significant impact on social and economic relationships within urban areas. Studies have shown that homeowners often influence these regulations to prevent densification in well-located neighborhoods in big cities, contributing to the affordability housing crisis. Our analysis of a unique database of lots in Santiago, Chile, comprising an urban area of approximately 151 square kilometers, found that the share of high-income residents is strongly associated with maintaining a regulatory status quo, preventing denser housing projects from being built. This association is particularly strong in areas primarily composed of single-family housing, and is not affected by access to transportation networks or the size of the area involved in zoning changes. Our findings suggest that socioeconomic status plays a key role in urban politics in unequal and segregated cities.