New England is different from the rest of the U.S. in many ways. But one of the most visible is our celebration of the individuality of each town. While some states may have giant metro areas governed as large cities, or strong county government overseeing the municipalities inside it, we, largely, let towns elect their own officials and run their own affairs.
That includes how towns address issues of zoning and housing.
An investigation by the Connecticut Mirror and ProPublica has found a pattern of towns in Connecticut blocking the construction of privately developed duplexes and apartments, and that has led to a lack of affordable housing units, segregated neighborhoods, and neighborhoods with big disparities in income distribution. It’s a problem that’s not unique to Connecticut.
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas is a reporter with the Connecticut Mirror and ProPublica’s local reporting network. She’s the author of the recent article, “Separate and unequal: How Connecticut keeps its housing segregated.” She joins us to discuss what she found in her reporting.