This paper aims to explore why some suburbs adopt land use policies that encourage exclusivity and segregation, meanwhile others adopt land use policies that encourage inclusivity and integration. Specifically, I analyze the social, economic, and political factors that motivate the adoption of certain land use policies. This research extends Charles Tiebout’s public choice theory in conjunction with Michael Danielson’s theory on local government autonomy over land use regulation. These theories combine to explore the understudied relationship of median voter pressure on local government to explain how political actors adopt policies motivated by pressure from from residents, or median voters. Additionally, it argues that fair-share housing advocacy groups counter pressure politicians, resulting in more inclusive zoning practices. In order to explore these motivations, I will conduct a comparative case study of two Cleveland suburbs and two Chicago suburbs. The case studies will include an analysis of semi-structured interviews, zoning codes, city planning documents, public hearing records and other supplemental sources that help explain the differing zoning practices across the four cases. In each state, I have chosen one example of an inclusive suburb and one example of an exclusive suburb to compare their land use policies and the motivations behind them. For Cleveland, I will be looking at Shaker Heights, OH as my inclusive example and Westlake, OH as my exclusive example. For Chicago, I will be looking at Oak Park, IL as my inclusive example and Lake Forest, IL as my exclusive example.


Moskowitz, Eric


Political Science


American Politics | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


Housing Issues, Zoning Regulations, Exclusive Zoning, Racial and Economic Inequalities, Urban Politics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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