Good news: President Obama wants to make cities denser and housing more affordable. Bad news: He has very little power to do either of those things.

On Monday, the White House called for changing zoning codes that restrict new residential developments and offered recommendations to help communities create more affordable housing. This all came in the form of a new “Housing Development Toolkit.” It explains how local impediments to development keep housing in short supply in desirable areas, thereby encouraging sprawl, driving up housing costs, and worsening gentrification and displacement.

The Obama administration has some reforms in mind. Among its good suggestions: eliminate off-street parking requirements, create zoning that allows high density and multi-family developments like townhouses and apartment buildings, require developers to build some affordable housing, incentivize developers to build extra affordable units by allowing them to make their projects bigger if they do, and tax vacant land so it gets put to a productive use.