To most people, zoning and land-use regulations might conjure up little more than images of late-night City Council meetings full of gadflies and minutiae. But these laws go a long way toward determining some fundamental aspects of life: what American neighborhoods look like, who gets to live where and what schools their children attend.
And when zoning laws get out of hand, economists say, the damage to the American economy and society can be profound. — the New York Times
"Studies have shown that laws aimed at things like “maintaining neighborhood character” or limiting how many unrelated people can live together in the same house contribute to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They also exacerbate inequality by restricting the...
These days, you can find a Steve Pomerance in cities across the country — people who moved somewhere before it exploded and now worry that growth is killing the place they love.
But a growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy. — New York Times
Many buildings in distinctive Manhattan neighborhoods like Chinatown, the Upper East Side and Washington Heights could not be erected now: Properties in those areas tend to cover too much of their lots (Washington Heights), have too much commercial space (Chinatown) or rise too high (the Upper East Side). [...]
“It’s ridiculous that we have these hundred-year-old buildings that everyone loves, and none of them ‘should’ be the way they are.” — nytimes.com
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strict zoning laws in the Bay Area make it almost impossible to significantly expand the housing stock there. [...]
As a result, the tech boom simply means that housing gets less and less affordable for anyone who doesn't work in tech or already own a home.
A lot of people are blaming the tech boom itself for the Bay Area's housing problems. But the technology boom is only a problem because the region's housing markets are functioning so poorly. — vox.com
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The policy, limiting building heights of 75 to 240 feet within a half-mile radius of the Disneyland Resort, isn’t meant to keep outsiders from getting a peek at the rides and attractions.
Rather, the Disney Cone is aimed at limiting views of the outside world for the 25 million-plus annual visitors who walk into the parks for a sense of escape and fantasy – just as Walt Disney had first envisioned on Disneyland’s opening day, more than 60 years ago. — ocregister.com
Started in 2003 by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and intended to be Turkey’s tallest tower, the partially-constructed Republic Tower in Ankara’s Keçiören district will now be demolished after the Ankara Municipal Assembly rejected its zoning plan. [...]
First started in 2003 and stalled since 2008, the 144-meter tall tower which has already cost TRY 27 million (USD 10 million) will now be demolished. — national.bgnnews.com
From time to time, our Omnibus columnists check in to provide commentary on issues of design, policy, and history and their impact on the life and form of the city today. Stephen Rustow’s first column scaled the heights of New York’s skyscrapers to consider “The Privatization of Prospect.” Here, in his second installment, Rustow looks at three intangible forces that greatly influence the shape of our built environment: zoning, finance, and the building code. — urbanomnibus.net
The tax breaks, rent-control laws and building restrictions that make up zoning codes in many major cities require lawyers to decipher. Whether by design or effect, a housing regime that is intelligible only to highly trained professionals is one that spells endless power for owners and endless misery for tenants. Zoning codes must be simplified — quickly, radically and without mercy. — Al Jazeera
Developed with the help of a team of volunteer researchers, urban planners and designers, this new online tool allows anyone to view the staggering amount of publicly-owned lots that once had an urban renewal plan in the pipeline but were scrapped due to bureaucracy. By mapping out all of the vacant spaces across the city, 596 hopes that we as a community can take a top-down approach to turning these urban blights into public gardens, play lots, and spaces where people can “co-create.” — 6sqft
From 1949-1974 NYC took on an urban renewal project that resulted in the bulldozing of "slums" across Manhattan. The vast majority of the proposals planned for the land floundered and today nearly 15,000 lots across the city lay vacant. 596 Acres, a grassroots land access nonprofit, had developed...
Friday, August 8:Guggenheim Bullies Journalist: Molly Crabapple reports for Vice on inhumane immigrant labor conditions on Saadiyat island in the UAE, where a new arm of the Guggenheim (and Louvre, and NYU) is being built. The Guggenheim holds its cards close and skirts responsibility when...
...Countless contradictions [are] embedded in Los Angeles' zoning code, the 800-plus-page document that governs what can be built where in the city, and what it should look like [...] City planning officials are hoping to iron them out by rewriting the 70-year-old code, with an eye to making development here more predictable, less expensive and more in tune with the needs of a modern city. — LA Times
Throughout his neighborhood of Lanier Heights, developers are buying up two-story townhouses and building an extra floor or two, additions that are known as pop-ups. They’re also extending the structures as far back as allowed, to within 15 feet of the property line, obliterating backyards in the process. [...]
A few doors down the other way is a deafening construction site, where a single-family home is being turned into eight units, taking full advantage of what was once the backyard. — washingtoncitypaper.com
Tokyo’s extreme housing production and resulting market is a product of Japan’s uniquely liberal zoning rules. Taken along with its dense network of profitable, private railways, Tokyo is the closest thing this planet has to a city that has completely surrendered itself to market forces. And its construction numbers show it. — nextcity.org
“In New York, development is a three-dimensional chess game,” said Dan Kaplan, a senior partner at FXFowle Architects, “and the reason we’re seeing an increase in the use of cantilevers above neighboring buildings is linked to the complexity of finding a site that can utilize all available development rights.” — nytimes.com
For the past six years, professor Zhang Lin has been moving rocks and rubble to construct his dream mountain home in the Renji Mountain area of Beijing, China. The catch? It's actually on the roof of a 26-story apartment building. And according to the South China Morning Post, the structure is completely illegal, as he never received the necessary planning permission for this extreme dwelling. — huffingtonpost.com
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