This pamphlet defines the issue and the problems with the attack on single-family zoning.

The note to journalists would be well-heeded by us all.

A note to journalists

If you are writing or speaking about single-family zoning, please take care to use appropriate language.

Characterizing single-family zoning as “exclusionary” is incorrect and demonstrates bias. Single-family zoning doesn’t exclude anyone on the basis of race or ethnicity, as discussed in the Author’s Note. Also, calling single- family zoning exclusionary suggests (incorrectly) that single-family housing is the opposite of inclusionary housing, which is a term of art that means something specific relative to affordable housing. If a single-family area is rezoned to allow multiple units of market-rate housing on individual parcels, that does not make the zoning inclusionary; it simply makes the area higher density.

The term “restrictive” also is pejorative relative to zoning, because it evokes the notion of restrictive covenants such as those that literally prohibited the sale of property to Black people and Jewish people (including the family of the author of this book) during much of the 1900s. Such covenants have long been illegal under fair housing laws in the United States.

Journalists intent on educating people should describe single-family zoning as it is: Zoning that typically allows only one unit of housing on a lot, or as a form of low-density housing.”