Do Parking Requirements Reflect Anti-Muslim Bias?

Research Team: Mark Fathi Massoud (lead), Adam Millard-Ball, and Huzaifa Shahbaz

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Additional Research Partners: UC Santa Cruz

Problem Statement: The negative impacts of minimum parking requirements are well established. More parking leads people to buy more cars and drive them more, which contributes to air pollution, climate change, and road injuries and deaths. Parking requirements also constrain densities and make it difficult to adaptively reuse historic buildings. More recent studies have highlighted the equity consequences of minimum parking requirements, such as increasing rents and constraining the supply of affordable housing.

Project Description: This project addresses an equity concern regarding the potential disparate impact of parking requirements on minority religious communities in California, particularly Muslim communities. Previous research has indicated that Muslim mosques often face demands for additional parking beyond mandated minimums, exceeding the variances typically granted to Christian churches. In collaboration with the community-based organization Council on American-Muslim Relations the project team will investigate and analyze the disproportionate financial burdens placed on mosques in contrast to churches during parking discussions that may seem innocuous. To do this, the researchers will study a sample of 30 to 40 new mosques constructed since 2010 and create a paired dataset that matches them with churches built around the same time in similar locations. Using this paired dataset, they will conduct qualitative interviews with city officials, as well as Muslim and Christian religious leaders, to examine how parking requirements influenced the planning approval processes and to identify potential instances of anti-Muslim bias facilitated by these requirements.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $82,180