Freakanomics: Who joins zoning boards?

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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 byJerry L. AndersonAaron 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?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.