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A Better Way to Zone: Ten Principles to Create More Livable Cities 1st Edition
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*Elliott criticizes out-of-control use regulation. When zoning was born in the 1920s, cities were divided into a few major zones: residential, commercial, industrial, etc. But large buildings in each of these categories often have more of an impact upon neighbors than smaller commercial buildings, and different types of commercial and industrial uses have different effects upon neighbors. As a result, landowners and their neighbors started requesting uses "like the status quo, but a little different" causing the number of zones to multiply. What's wrong with that? As zoning gets more complex, the amount of money and time required to administer zoning has grown.
Elliott's solution: divide zones uses into three major categories: single-family residential, mixed-use, and special purpose districts for unusual uses that don't fit well with other uses (such as airports). Single-family residential zones are necessary because that's what buyers want- even in pedestrian-friendy "new urbanist" developments, most houses are in blocks surrounded by houses, even if commercial zones are within walking distance. Mixed-use zones make sense because generally, multifamily housing fits together with commerce, and the line between commercial and light industrial activity is often so blurry that there is no reason for separate one from the other.Read more ›
Yet, Elliott - despite his background as both a lawyer and city planner - manages in "A Better Way to Zone" to make government land use regulations comprehensible to any city resident. The author's passion for the "filters that determine what gets built on private land" produced a thoughtful, well-organized analysis that takes great care to explain the variables that have given rise to current zoning codes (Elliott, 2). Herein lies the book's greatest strength. Elliott resists the temptation to merely deliver a zoning prescription that reflects his own preferences for how cities should look and what they should offer. In fact, he ultimately makes suggestions only about how the zoning process needs to change; not what the ideal zoning code would allow or prohibit. Rather, Elliott devotes most of his time to deconstructing the current zoning system to expose the assumptions, market forces, political processes, and legal framework that comprise the system's foundation.
The author's methodology isolates the individual roles that different stakeholders play in this important aspect of city planning, enabling the reader to relate more easily to an otherwise obscure process.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I give this rate because of the new book and the paper quality. It can be definitely readable. Great book.Published on January 31, 2013 by Monkeewu
Was requested by recipient. I read just a few pages and was pleased with the writing.Published on January 9, 2010 by J. Shanks
The author begins with an interesting history of zoning and a pertinent critique of its application over the past 90 years. Read morePublished on June 30, 2009 by Pierre Gauthier