'The Users' Guide to Zoning Reform' Published by the Congress for New Urbanism

The Congress for New Urbanism's Users' "Guide to Code Reform" leads planners through the code reform process, providing tools for governments lacking the capacity to develop a full form-based code.

1 minute read

October 2, 2018, 5:00 AM PDT

By Todd Litman

Susan Henderson and Mathew Lambert write:

Increasingly, local governments want to align their zoning regulations with their goals for placemaking, incremental development, livability, and economic success. They realize conventional suburban standards have completely failed to solve for these issues; however, there are often gaps in political support, staff capacity, and budget to hire consultants for a major rewrite of their ordinances. The Congress for New Urbanism's Project for Code Reform is responding to that need.


The Users’ Guide to Zoning Reform is designed for a broader constituency of local government staff, elected officials and planning consultants who work for municipalities who want guidance on practical ways to implement change. It is broken into two critical pieces—one which allows a local government to solve for discrete, specific problems, and the second which provides a set of basic zoning district templates for common walkable place types within the state. If a planning director is building the case for reform with their elected officials, the first tool is the initial step. The Guide offers background on zoning reform, instructions and process, and a series of code reform steps addressing streetscape, form, use, frontage, and parking.


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