As zoning has become more restrictive over time, the need for “safety valve” mechanisms—which give developers flexibility within standard zoning rules—has grown exponentially.U.S. zoning officially has two such regulatory relief mechanisms: variances and special permits. Variances generally … [Read more...]
Why Is Japanese Zoning More Liberal Than US Zoning?
Over the past few years, Japanese zoning has become popular among YIMBYs thanks to a classic blog post by Urban kchoze. It’s easy to see why: Japanese zoning is relatively liberal, with few bulk and density controls, limited use segregation, and no regulatory distinction between apartments and … [Read more...]
Any Green New Deal Must Tackle Zoning Reform
With the Democrats scrambling to come up with a legislative agenda after their November takeover of the House of Representatives, an old idea is making a comeback: a “Green New Deal.” Once the flagship issue of the Green Party, an environmental stimulus package is now a cause de celebre among the … [Read more...]
New Video: How Zoning Laws Are Holding Back America’s Cities
It's an understatement to say that zoning is a dry subject. But in a new video for the Institute for Humane Studies, Josh Oldham and Professor Sanford Ikeda (a regular contributor to this blog) manage to breath new life into this subject, accessibly explaining how zoning has transformed America's … [Read more...]
Light and Air, Sound and Fury; or, Was the Equitable Life Building Panic Only About Shadows?
When I first became interested in urban planning, I believed a piece of professional mythology that went like this: “For all its faults, Euclidean zoning was a well-meaning effort to expand nuisance regulation in the face of the urban industrialization. It was later practitioners who used zoning for … [Read more...]
How Should We Interpret Jane Jacobs?
At first blush, the enterprise of interpreting the Jane Jacobs' work might seem like one best left to the proud and peculiar few, or to put it less charitably, those of us with nothing better to do. Yet the forces of history militate against this apathy: Jane Jacobs has emerged as quite possibly the … [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...]