Neighborhood Character

Newly constructed houses in Tempe, Arizona.

Arizona State Lawmakers Seek to Override Local Zoning to Spur Housing Development

The proposal would eliminate minimum lot sizes, setback requirements of more than five feet, minimum square footage, and “neighborhood character” requirements.

February 15, 2024 - East Valley Tribune

Aerial view of South Bend, Indiana

South Bend Offers Small Developers Pre-Approved Housing Templates

The city hopes the templates, along with other incentive programs, will spur more housing construction on its vacant lots while maintaining neighborhood character and streamlining the development process.

October 7, 2022 - Strong Towns


Unlocking the City with Context Keys

The human memory is so powerful that a place on pavement suddenly can trigger a stream of imagery from the distant past, or a meaningful story of something that once happened there. We should champion such keys to the context of a place.

March 10, 2021 - Charles R. Wolfe

High-Rise Development

A Defense of 'Out of Scale' Buildings

Beauty is often known to break the rules.

July 24, 2020 - Strong Towns

Cincinnati Area

Covington's New Neighborhood Development Code Wants to Ease Development, Protect Charm

Covington, Kentucky is seeking feedback from the public on a new zoning code after 18 months of work.

October 23, 2019 - WCPO

Single-Family Neighborhood

Debating the End of Single-Family Zoning in Toronto

A retired city planner takes a position against "lot splitting," or allowing more than one unit on properties zones for single-family residential as it's known in Toronto.

August 7, 2019 - The Star

The Mission

Critiquing the Notion of Neighborhood Character

Zócalo Public Square Editor Joe Mathews takes aim at the phrase, “We want to protect the character of the community," calling it a lousy argument in normal times and verging on "treasonous" due to climate change and California's housing crisis.

December 27, 2018 - San Francisco Chronicle

Capitol Hill DC

Construction Versus Conservation: A Local Case Study

In Washington D.C., ZIP code 20003 is split into two distinct areas: fiercely preserved Capitol Hill and the construction-heavy Capitol Riverfront. But where are rents skyrocketing, and what factors go into that equation?

August 2, 2018 - Greater Greater Washington

Brooklyn Brownstones

High-Rise Proposal Next to Brownstone Brooklyn Sparks Debate

80 Flatbush, a major high-rise development combining apartments, offices, and community amenities, lies at the center of ongoing debate between YIMBYs and neighborhood character advocates.

May 30, 2018 - Crain's New York Business

Denver, Colorado

Denver Bans 'Slot Homes,' But Not Before They Changed Neighborhoods

Aerial photos show just how completely some areas of the city were transformed before the building typology was eliminated earlier this week.

May 9, 2018 - The Denver Post

Los Angeles High Rise Construction

New Housing Law Empowers Renters Group to Sue Cities that Deny New Construction

The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, unlike other renters groups, sees increased housing production as key to bringing down rents. It is enforcing the Housing Accountability Act in cities that arbitrarily deny new construction.

May 2, 2018 - California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund

The Station at Potomac Yard

Confusing Architectural Tastes for Moral Judgement

Kate Wagner argues that moral arguments about what kind of architecture is fitting, can stand in the way of good planning.

April 19, 2018 - Common Edge

Complying With New State Laws on ADUs No Easy Matter

Santa Rosa is struggling to complying with two laws passed last year to encourage construction of inlaw units to increase affordable housing. Council members are concerned that loosened restrictions would degrade neighborhood character.

December 11, 2017 - The Press Democrat

New California Housing Laws Not Well Received Locally

City council members of Burlingame, a small, affluent suburb south of San Francisco, are not happy with new laws that take away their discretion to reject developments that fail to meet "neighborhood character" criteria, but meet zoning requirements.

December 8, 2017 - The Daily Journal

Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa Cities Will No Longer Enforce Rental Occupancy Limits

Iowa City's Mayor, Jim Throgmorton, opposes changes to the state's rental occupancy limits, arguing that these limits protect the state's elderly. The amendment's supporters say it's giving Iowans the freedom to live the way they want to.

July 11, 2017 - Iowa City Press Citizen

Little Tokyo

Preserving the Character of Little Tokyo

In the wake of rapid gentrification, an organization in Los Angeles is leveraging the arts to celebrate a community's rich heritage and keep social equity a priority.

January 30, 2017 - Shelterforce/Rooflines

SoHo Greenwich New York

National Trust Releases New 'Atlas of ReUrbanism'

The National Trust for Historic Preservation's new Atlas for ReUrbanization relies on a metric called "character" to explore the relationship between historic preservation and affordability.

January 1, 2017 - CityLab

Leonardo DiCaprio

Why the Disconnect on Climate Change and Urban Density?

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is also a committed climate change activist. His documentary on the topic airs Oct. 30 on the National Geographic channel. At the U.N., he asked leaders to take bold action. Yet, as an Angeleno, he opposes increased density.

October 17, 2016 - Curbed LA


San Francisco Tower Takes On Many Meanings

Urban design critic John King’s aversion to LinkedIn’s new office space points to long-standing tensions in San Francisco.

April 7, 2016 - San Francisco Chronicle

Northwest Portland Hostel

The Charms of 'Illegal Neighborhoods'

A longtime resident of an old, eclectic neighborhood reflects on what makes the area so desirable and why new places like it are effectively outlawed today.

October 2, 2015 - City Observatory City Commentary

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