A concerted research effort has brought minimum lot sizes into focus as a key element in city zoning reform. Boise is looking at significant reforms. Auburn, Maine, and Helena, Montana, did away with minimums in some zones. And even state legislatures are putting a toe in the water: Bills enabling … [Read more...]
Given that I've written a few papers about Harris County, Texas, and even helped republish a book about the city of Houston, it's a little embarrassing to admit I had never been there. So when a Canadian buddy suggested meeting up in the Bayou City for barbeque ahead of his conference there, I … [Read more...]
Why Houston Isn’t An Argument for Zoning
Someone just posted a video on Youtube using Houston, Texas as an argument in favor of zoning. The logic of the video is: Houston is horrible; Houston has no zoning; therefore every city should have conventional zoning.This video and its logic are impressively wrong, for several reasons. … [Read more...]
How Much Should We Blame Planners for Sprawl?
How much should we blame planning for the degree to which cities sprawl? As much time as we (justifiably) spend here on this blog explaining how conventional U.S. planning drives excessive sprawl, it's worth periodically remembering that, at the end of the day, the actual extent of the horizontal … [Read more...]
The Case for Subsidizing Deed Restrictions
In most of my discussions of Houston here on the blog, I have always been quick to hedge that the city still subsidizes a system of quasi-private deed restrictions that control land use and that this is a bad thing. After reading Bernard Siegan’s sleeper market urbanist classic, “Land Use Without … [Read more...]
Are Houston’s Deed Restrictions “Basically Zoning”?
Houston doesn’t have zoning. As I have written about previously here on the blog, this doesn’t mean nearly as much as you would think. Sure, Houston’s municipal government doesn’t segregate uses or expressly regulate densities. But as my Market Urbanism colleague Michael Lewyn has documented, city … [Read more...]
Is Zoning Popular? Reevaluating the Evidence
In my regular discussions of U.S. zoning, I often hear a defense that goes something like this: “You may have concerns about zoning, but it sure is popular with the American people. After all, every state has approved of zoning and virtually every city in the country has implemented zoning.”One … [Read more...]
How Suburban Parking Requirements Hold Back Downtown
You wake up thirty minutes before your alarm, jerking up after having a nightmare about a car crash. Reluctantly, you clean up, eat breakfast, and hop into your car. Work is only three mile away—easy biking distance—and there are 15 or so people in your neighborhood who work where you work—enough … [Read more...]