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Who Joins Zoning Boards?

What kind of person would volunteer to serve on a zoning board? It’s not exactly a lucrative position. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that a new study by Jerry L. Anderson, Aaron Brees, and Emily Renninger finds that most zoning board members have something to gain from their positions: “[C]ertain types of professional occupations – business, real estate, law, bankers, planners, and architects – are disproportionately represented. In some cities, the majority of board members have some direct or indirect interest in the development process.” The authors argue that this disproportionate representation may lead to predictable building patterns — the prevalence of urban sprawl and gated communities or why “high-impact land uses are located most often in poorer sections of town.” In Norway, there’s a quota for women on corporate boards, which seems to be working out well; is there a corollary to consider for U.S. zoning boards? [%comments]