Land Use

Dark shot of people dancing in front of bar with red and blue atmospheric lights

New York City's Dancing Prohibition Remains a Barrier to Entry, Equality

New York’s 1960s-era zoning code still prohibits dancing in small bars and restaurants in more than 80 percent of the city, but Mayor Eric Adams and advocates want to change that.

May 16, 2023 - Mark H. McNulty

 Old sugar factory in Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Bitter Irony Behind Brooklyn’s Sweet Domino Sugar Sign

A new feature on the Brooklyn waterfront is a reminder that Domino Sugar has made several unsavory appearances in the history of Puerto Rican communities.

May 2, 2023 - Mark H. McNulty


Land Use Reform Picks Up Momentum in Connecticut Again

Multiple statewide land use reform proposals are up for debate in the Nutmeg State. Which, if any, will become law?

February 27, 2023 - Mark H. McNulty

Single-family house with two-car garage under construction

Not Just Use: More Zoning Regulations to Unlock Housing Equity

Prohibiting single-family zoning alone won’t accomplish the needed transformation of the built environment in the United States.

August 31, 2022 - American Planning Association

Close-up of person holding receipt with grocery store shelves in background

The Local Causes of Inflation

Although it is widely seen as a national issue, decisions made at the local level often have a stronger impact on inflation than federal policies.

August 2, 2022 - Vox

Building Heights and Step-Backs

What Are Height Limits?

Height limits are a critical component of almost every zoning code in the United States.

June 3, 2021 - James Brasuell

Los Angeles Density

What Is Floor Area Ratio?

Floor area ratio (FAR) is a critical measurement to the field of planning. FAR defines development intensity and determines numerous other regulations and development outcomes.

March 24, 2021 - James Brasuell

Brooklyn Construction

What Is Market Rate Housing?

Market-rate housing is a term used to define housing generated by the real estate market without direct subsidy. The price the market sets for housing, even without subsidies, is a direct outcome of policies and practices of planning.

February 24, 2021 - James Brasuell

Suburban Home

What is Single-Family Zoning?

Single-family zoning is by far the most common form of zoning in the United States, but it's facing increasing criticisms both for its discriminatory origins and its sprawling effects.

February 23, 2021 - James Brasuell

Greenwich Village, Manhattan

What Is Density?

Density is a controversial topic, but public opinion on the opportunities and risks of density have shifted in recent decades. To many, density now has a positive connotation.

February 23, 2021 - James Brasuell

Bronx Apartments

What is Affordable Housing?

The term affordable housing refers to housing units that cost less than a predetermined percentage of household incomes. Planners use affordable housing as a general term to describe housing that doesn't put an excessive financial burden on its occupants.

January 10, 2021 - Diana Ionescu

Blank Wall

The Race Barriers of American Cities

The United States has a long and insidious history of erecting structures to control the movements of African Americans in urban and suburban spaces.

December 9, 2020 - Places Journal

Zoning Code

What Is a Form-Based Code?

Form-based codes are a variety of development regulation that departs significantly from the land use control approach of most zoning codes in the United States.

July 16, 2020 - James Brasuell

Plan Portsmouth

What Is Land Use?

Land use might seem self explanatory, but it has a very specific meaning in the context of U.S. planning history.

June 23, 2020 - James Brasuell

Parking Space

New York Parking Is a Pricey but Valued Amenity

In a city where owning a car can be an expensive burden, off-street parking spaces are still highly desired commodities.

April 3, 2020 - The New York Times

Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

'Economic Mapping' to Help Regional Planning

Identifying potential hubs and activity centers allows regions to foster economic growth and density.

March 16, 2020 - The Avenue (Brookings)

Seattle Mixed Use Development

What Is Mixed-Use Development?

Long an urban norm, mixed-use neighborhoods fell out of favor in the United States in the automobile age as single-use zoning became common. These days, mixed-use development is back in vogue, but implementation remains a challenge.

February 22, 2020 - Philip Rojc

Public Hearing

What Is Local Control?

State preemption and local control are two of the most controversial and contested concepts in land use. Understanding when and where one or the other takes precedence is key to understanding the politics and governance of planning.

January 16, 2020 - James Brasuell

Oregon State Capitol Building

What Is State Preemption?

State preemption and local control are two of the most controversial and contested concepts in land use. Understanding when and where each one takes precedence is key to understanding the politics and governance of planning.

January 14, 2020 - James Brasuell

Quang Nam province

Generative Codes Yield Better Plans

Ngoc Hong Nguyen of the University of Danang writes about a recent article he authored in the Journal of Planning Education and Research

November 5, 2019 - JPER

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.