Land Use Regulation

Rendering of Culdesac Tempe development

What Is a Variance?

Variances allow for development projects to deviate from the zoning code on a case-by-case basis—if the project developer can prove a unique economic or physical hardship.

October 2, 2022 - James Brasuell

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

Houston, Construction

Watch: Debunking Myths About Houston's Lack of Zoning

A video published last week by City Beautiful reveals the myths and misconceptions of Houston's land use regulation system.

April 29, 2021 - City Beautiful

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

New York City Open Streets

New York Outdoor Dining, Open Streets Programs Now Permanent

New York City will now be measurably less car-centric for the indefinite future.

September 27, 2020 - Eater New York

Downtown Houston pedestrians

Walkability Plan, Including Parking Reform, Adopted in Houston

The city of Houston is embarking on an ambitious plan to reshape how new development in the city prioritizes walkability, and deprioritizes the automobile.

August 6, 2020 - Houston Chronicle

Venice, Los Angeles

'Accessory Commercial Units' for a 15-Minute City

A Portland, Oregon urban planner is pitching the idea of ACUs, or accessory commercial units, as a means of repairing the effects of excluding retails uses from residential neighborhoods.

July 29, 2020 - Fast Company

Houston, Texas

How Houston Achieved Lot Size Reform

Nolan Gray of George Mason University and Adam A. Millsap of the Charles Koch Institute write about a recent article they authored in the Journal of Planning Education and Research.

July 22, 2020 - JPER

Miami, Florida

11 Years Later: Miami 21 Zoning Code Ready for an Update

Miami 21 was approved in 2009 and heralded as a sign of a new era in zoning. Since then, Miami 21 has been both credited and blamed for the city's transformation.

June 22, 2020 - Miami Herald


CEQA Exemptions Could Finally Be Granted to Sustainable Transportation Projects

California has traditionally granted environmental exemptions to large projects like football stadiums, a practice criticized by environmentalists and urbanists alike. SB 288 would change that, with exemptions for sustainable transportation projects.

June 16, 2020 - San Francisco Chronicle

Buffalo Bayou Park

Planning Without Zoning: The Houston Story

Houston is famous in planning circles for lacking a zoning code, but that doesn't mean planners don't have plenty of tools to determine the future of the city.

February 4, 2020 - Planning Magazine


The High Costs of Housing Development: It's Complicated

The high costs of housing development do not fit a convenient narrative, according to new analysis by Jenny Schuetz from the Brookings Institution.

January 24, 2020 - Brookings


States Mandating Housing Deregulation

Housing deregulation for the sake of housing affordability made progress in both Democratic- and Republican-led states last year.

January 21, 2020 - City Journal


To Clear Obstacles to Housing Affordability, Environmental Law Reformed in Washington

State and local lawmakers hope that recent reforms to the Washington State Environmental Policy Act are only an initial step toward ending the law's use as a tool for delaying affordable housing plans.

January 8, 2020 - Crosscut

Washington, D.C. Apartment Building

Is the Height Act Responsible for D.C.'s Sky High Housing Prices?

The Height Act is up for debate again in Washington, D.C., amidst an emotional debate about housing affordability.

December 19, 2019 - WAMU

Image of transit oriented development around Union Station in Denver.

What Is Transit Oriented Development?

Transportation and land use are deeply connected, but decades of planning and development policy ignored the consequences of only paying attention to one side of the equation. Transit oriented development takes a more holistic approach.

November 4, 2019 - James Brasuell

Washington, D.C. Rowhouses

Short-Term Rental Legalization Hangs on Zoning Changes in D.C.

The D.C. Zoning Commission delayed a decision that would be the final step toward legalizing Airbnb and other short-term rental companies operating in Washington, D.C.

October 22, 2019 - WAMU

Minneapolis Downtown East

Minneapolis Debates Inclusionary Zoning

The city of Minneapolis approved an interim inclusionary zoning measure in December 2018, but very few projects were subject to the policy. Supporters and opponents of the policy are sparring over the policy's future.

October 17, 2019 - MinnPost

Chicken Run

Ordinance Would Limit Chickens, Livestock in Chicago Residential Neighborhoods

Noise and smeall are the common complaints as more residents of urban areas bring animals to their home to live more sustainably.

October 16, 2019 - Chicago Tribune

Detroit Public Transit

Work Underway to Update Detroit's Zoning Code

The first deliverable in the process of updating the city of Detroit's zoning ordinance is publically available.

September 19, 2019 - Curbed Detroit

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

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