How Sprawl's Zombie Remains Prohibit Lively Places

Zoning codes, street standards, parking regulations, and other hidden determinants of the built environment are like regulatory zombies from the distant past, throwing up barriers in the path of human-scale placemaking, writes Robert Steuteville.

Land once slated for housing returned to agricultural uses in the DC suburbs. Cities surpassing suburbs in growth. Automobile use declines while transit use rises. "Clearly, something fundamental has changed," observes Steuteville.

It may seem like sprawl is dead, but according to Steuteville, "Sprawl has never been entirely market-driven - it's also an act of will on the part of the housing and finance industries, the regulators who establish the codes, the highway lobby, and departments of transportation. Even after sprawl is dead in the market, these forces can keep it going for a long time."

"Placemaking lives," counters Steuteville. "That is the real future."

Thanks to Rob Steuteville

Full Story: Subdivisions without a pulse

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