Environment: Opening the Suburbs

By writing tough zoning ordinances, many of America's suburban towns and villages have curbed the construction of apartment buildings and required that each new house be built on a substantial plot of land. Zoning has thus had the effect — often by intent — of excluding low-and moderate-income families who cannot afford to buy or rent most available housing. It has also kept many towns lily-white.

That strategy will no longer work in one state. The New Jersey Supreme Court last week banned restrictive zoning throughout the state. The ruling resulted from a suit brought by the N.A.A.C.P., CORE and...

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