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Land Use Without Zoning Hardcover – June 1, 1972


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (June 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0669820407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0669820409
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,411,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Williams on January 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A major city without zoning? This was news to me! Bernie Siegan studied Houston's non-zoning approach to land use. Siegan's point is that all land use control is by its very nature "exclusionary", and it is especially the poor and middle class who are hurt by it. A 1971 comparison of rents in Houston and Dallas revealed renters' costs to average 15% higher in Dallas; the two cities are comparable in every way except that Dallas has had zoning ordinances since the 1930s while Houston has never had one.

Siegan says that government "solutions" to land use and housing problems have been primarily political moves that imposed huge costs upon the middle and low income people who could least afford them. Environmental nuisances have been permitted to continue and even expand, but nonagressive uses of land are prohibited in order to satisfy polically powerful minorities. Anyone living near a BFI landfill is familiar with the politics of zoning and land use. Studies indicate that in addition to boosting renter's costs, zoning imposes other hardships that are less easy to identify. And rent controls, building codes, rehabilitation subsidies, and public housing all hurt rather than help low-income families.

Siegan believes that "the least fallible of city planners is the free market". He would like to see the creation and enforcement of voluntary building codes, voluntary covenants to restrict land uses rather than zoning, and landowner planning within a framework of land and environmental property rights. For more information, I believe this author did some work for the Association of Rational Environmental Alterntives (AREA) headed by Dick Bjornseth. I also recommend Seymour I. Toll's "Zoned American" (NY: Grossman, 1969).
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Format: Hardcover
This is the book we used for many arguments against zoning in 1992 when I and many other anti-zoners successfully fought against the city's plan to adopt zoning willy nilly. I also interviewed Mr. Siegan for an article in my own paper, The Houston Agenda, in which I showed the claims of the prozoners and the reality of zoning. Siegan compares an unzoned Houston to a heavily zoned Chicago and shows that the only difference is the graft and corruption caused by zoning while the pattern of land use is the same. This was a fascinating read and it appealed to my academic background as Geography was my major subject. Wherever zoning exists it will grow in complexity. Fight back with facts that show that zoning is unnecessary.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Noel on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The sole reviewer of this book (until I wrote this review, at least) clearly hasn't been to Houston lately! The only thing wrong with current zoning plans is the willingness of municipalities to compromise on them.

If you want to know why it now takes fifteen minutes to drive three miles in your town - three miles you once could bike or drive, which today would be suicide - read "Save Our Land, Save Our Towns" by Tom Hylton.

It is time our civic boards start regularly using a word developers hate to hear: NO. Though the "libertarian" reviewer of "Land Without Zoning" would protest, the simple fact is that, until municipalities start treating their zoning plans as LAW, the "free market" that reviewer so loves will continue laying waste to our lands and towns, and ensure our continued enslavemennt to automobiles.
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