Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Op-Ed: Time to Take Planning Power Back from Communities
Stephen Smith begins a recent post for New York YIMBY by summarizing a familiar polemic about the effects of NIMBY culture in cities from coast to coast before proposing a radical shift in land use powers: "There is… another way: ignore 'the community.'" Smith elaborates on the definition of that term, and the proposal:
Not the community writ large, but “the community” as a euphemism for those who are already lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that others want to move to, whether it’s a hip, gentrifying neighborhood or an uptight, leafy suburb. Land use governance should be shifted from the local level to the city, state or national level, where governments seem to be more willing to let cities grow.
Smith goes on to provide a geographically diverse survey of the impacts of community control over land use regulations, like zoning, as well as providing examples of places where control comes from city, regional, or even state levels, such as Houston, Seattle, Portland, Toronto, and Tokyo. Independent of the polemic of the article, Smith's survey offers value in the breadth and depth of its insights.