Home Economics: Reimagining How the Home Can Support Single-Mother Families
Abstract: A core tenet of the American Planning Association is to engage citizens in planning issues to help shape communities in an equitable way as they grow and change; zoning regulations are one of the most powerful tools available to planners, and should be put to this service. In 2016, approximately 27% of Massachusetts families was headed by single mothers, while an estimated 35.5% of those ... read morefamilies lived in poverty. Using a comparative case study design, this thesis explores the extent to which zoning regulations for home occupations support single mothers as they make use of their residences to generate necessary family income. Since little research currently exists on how and how well planning efforts support non-traditional family life, three moderately-sized "best case" Massachusetts cities - those with several other family friendly indicators - were chosen as a starting place, to document the range of approaches to regulating home occupational use, and to identify strategies that might promote this kind of "family friendliness." These initial findings suggest that a number of relatively modest fixes, such as flexibility in what the zoning ordinance allows and lack of barriers to access, could bring municipalities some distance in this direction. On the other hand, it does not appear that any of the three cities' home occupation regulations were written with families in general, or low-income single families in specifics, in mind. These codes should be updated to reflect the changing needs of the community.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Francine Jacobs.
Committee: Mary Davis.
Keyword: Urban planning.read less