HIP Tool: Upzones & Rezones

Upzones and rezones can increase the range of affordable choices in market rate housing by increasing capacity for new residential development types, uses and densities. Below market rate housing can be supported through upzones and rezones that institute zone-specific inclusionary provisions requiring that future residential developments in the district include a share or number of affordable units.


An upzone occurs when a jurisdiction increases the density of a district so that more units can be built on an acre of land. A rezone involves changing the allowable uses from non-residential to residential or mixed-use. In this case, a commercial district may be amended to permit horizontal or vertical mixed-use development including housing.

Upzones and rezones can benefit affordability by boosting the supply and range of housing choices in the marketplace. In addition, local jurisdictions can require that future development in the area include affordable units. Higher density makes it possible for more development capacity and, therefore, more rental or sale income. The increased value of the parcel, realized by the upzone, incentivizes the inclusion of affordable units. Upzones and rezones, linked to affordable housing policies, can help jurisdictions achieve diverse, mixed-income communities. See density bonuses and inclusionary zoning for more information on affordable housing linkages.

Tool Profile

Focus Areas

  • Urban Centers
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Expensive Housing Markets
  • Innovative Single Family Techniques

Project Types

  • Single Family
  • Multifamily
  • Ownership
  • Rental
  • Market Rate

Affordability Level

  • 80 to 120% AMI
  • Less than 80% AMI

Housing Goal

  • Diversity