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Why Can't My Zoning Create a Diversity of Places?

Struggling with zoning that thwarts the construction of new hamlets, villages, towns, and cities? Susan Henderson has a bit of place type inspiration from across the pond.
October 18, 2016, 2pm PDT | Hazel Borys
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"Planners frequently use the place type framework to identify different issues, challenges, and assets throughout a municipality or a region. While there isn’t a standard used across the profession, it is generally accepted that the broadest range of places includes the hamlet, village, town and city. Historically, we intuitively understood how to build these places without regulation. Commerce and public spaces were located where the majority of residents could access them, and housing was both diverse and compact. This permitted the preservation of the landscape for agriculture and natural systems."

"However, the last decades have seen those clear types evolve into subdivisions, strip centers, malls and office parks. And unfortunately these new development types are virtually the same from region to region and country to country. This is the result of use-based zoning that separates rather than blends compatible uses."

Henderson uses three English examples for inspiration: the village of Castle Combe, the town of Tetbury, and the city of Bath. And points to our auto-centric zoning and subdivision regulations that keep delivering "placeless types" or "car types" or "suburb types," and how we can return to authentic places.

Bath, England; image credit: Susan Henderson

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Published on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 in PlaceShakers
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