Revisiting Subdivision Regulations

For many decades now, most communities in the United States have grown as a series of subdivisions, built on a tried and true formula. It might be time to change the math.
March 9, 2018, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"[Z]oning disputes typically only involve a few parcels of land at a time," according to Sarah Kobos. Controversial and headline-grabbing as some zoning disputes might be, "if you really care about the future of your city, you need to think bigger." One place to look to find the kind of scale Kobos seeks: subdivision regulations.

Kobos writes the local subdivision regulations wield tremendous power, but from obscurity. "Even the most battle-hardened veteran of the zoning wars would be hard pressed to explain what the subdivision regulations do."

That's where Kobos's article comes in: to explain the ins and outs of subdivision regulations, and why they matter to the experience and livability of communities. "If your city hasn’t re-evaluated its subdivision regulations in a while, you’re probably still replicating bad ideas from the 1970’s — creating inflexible, and auto-centric places," writes Kobos. As prescription for subdivision malaise, Kobos recommends a few "baby step" changes that can help implement incremental change with regard to block lengths, connectivity, and cul-de-sacs.

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Published on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 in Strong Towns
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