Zoning is a method of urban planning in which a municipality or other tier of government divides land into areas called zones, each of which has a set of regulations for new development that differs from other zones. Zones may be defined for a single use (e.g. residential, industrial), they may combine several compatible activities by use, or in the case of form-based zoning, the differing regulations may govern the density, size and shape of allowed buildings whatever their use. The planning rules for each zone, determine whether planning permission for a given development may be granted. Zoning may specify a variety of outright and conditional uses of land. It may indicate the size and dimensions of lots that land may be subdivided into, or the form and scale of buildings. These guidelines are set in order to guide urban growth and development.
Zoning is the most common regulatory urban planning method used by local governments in developed countries.Exceptions include the United Kingdom and the City of Houston.
The primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible. In practice, zoning is also used to prevent new development from interfering with existing uses and/or to preserve the "character" of a community.
Zoning may include regulation of the kinds of activities which will be acceptable on particular lots (such as open space, residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial), the densities at which those activities can be performed (from low-density housing such as single family homes to high-density such as high-rise apartment buildings), the height of buildings, the amount of space structures may occupy, the location of a building on the lot (setbacks), the proportions of the types of space on a lot, such as how much landscaped space, impervious surface, traffic lanes, and whether or not parking is provided.
Zoning is commonly controlled by local governments such as counties or municipalities, though the nature of the zoning regime may be determined or limited by state or national planning authorities or through enabling legislation. [ citation needed ] The United States and other federal countries are similar.[ citation needed ] Zoning and urban planning in France and Germany are regulated by national or federal codes. In the case of Germany this code includes contents of zoning plans as well as the legal procedure.In some countries, e. g. France, Germany or Canada, zoning plans must comply with upper-tier (national, regional, state, provincial) planning and policy statements. In the case of Germany this code includes contents of zoning plans as well as the legal procedure. In Australia, land under the control of the Commonwealth (federal) government is not subject to state planning controls.
The details of how individual planning systems incorporate zoning into their regulatory regimes varies though the intention is always similar. For example, in the state of Victoria, Australia, land use zones are combined with a system of planning scheme overlays to account for the multiplicity of factors that impact on desirable urban outcomes in any location.
Most zoning systems have a procedure for granting variances (exceptions to the zoning rules), usually because of some perceived hardship caused by the particular nature of the property in question.
The origins of zoning districts can be traced back to antiquity. The ancient walled city was the predecessor for classifying and regulating land, based on use. Outside the city walls were the undesirable functions, which were usually based on noise and smell; that was also where the poorest people lived. The space between the walls is where unsanitary and dangerous activities occurred such as butchering, waste disposal, and brick-firing. Within the wall were civic and religious places, where the majority of people lived.
Beyond the simple distinction between urban and non-urban land, most ancient cities further classified land type and use inside their walls. That was practiced in many regions of the world. For example, in China during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 256 BC), in India during the Vedic Era (1500 – 500 BC), and in the military camps that spread throughout the Roman Empire (31 BC – 476 AD). As the residential districts made up the majority of the city, that early form of districting was usually along ethnic and occupational divides; generally, class or status diminished outwards from the city center. One legal form for enforcing it was the caste system.
While space was carved out for important public institutions, places of worship, markets and squares, there is a major distinction between cities of antiquity and cities of today. Throughout antiquity and up until the onset of the Industrial Revolution (1760–1840), most work took place within the home. Therefore, residential areas also functioned as places of labor, production, and commerce. The definition of home was tied to the definition of economy, which caused a much greater mixing of uses within the residential quarters of cities.
Throughout the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, cultural and socio-economic shifts led to the rapid increase in the enforcement in and the invention of urban regulations.The shifts were informed by a new scientific rationality, the advent of mass production and complex manufacturing, and the subsequent onset of urbanization. Industry leaving the home was one major factor in reshaping industrial cities.
Overcrowding, pollution, and the urban squalor associated with factories were major concerns that led city officials and planners to consider the need for functional separation of uses. It was in France, Germany, and Britain that the first pseudo-zoning was invented to prevent polluting industries to be built in residential areas. Early uses of modern zoning were seen in Germany in the late-19th century.
There are a great variety of zoning types, some of which focus on regulating building form and the relation of buildings to the street with mixed uses, known as form-based, others with separating land uses, known as use-based, or a combination thereof. Use-based zoning systems can comprise single-use zones, mixed-use zones - where a compatible group of uses are allowed to co-exist - or a combination of both single and mixed-use zones in one system.
Single-use zoning is where only one kind of use is allowed per zone.
Commonly defined single-use zones include: residential, mixed residential-commercial, commercial, industrial and spatial (e. g. power plants, sports complexes, airports, shopping malls etc.). Each category can have a number of sub-categories, for example, within the commercial category there may be separate zones for small-retail, large retail, office use, lodging and others, while industrial may be subdivided into heavy manufacturing, light assembly and warehouse uses. In Germany, each category has a designated limit for noise emissions (not part of the building code, but federal emissions code).
In the United States or Canada, for example, residential zones can have the following sub-categories:
Separation between uses is a feature of many planned cities designed before the advent of zoning. A notable example is Adelaide in South Australia, whose city centre, along with the suburb of North Adelaide, is surrounded on all sides by a park, the Adelaide Park Lands. The park was designed by Colonel William Light in 1836 in order to physically separate the city centre from its suburbs. Low density residential areas surround the park, providing a pleasant walk between work in the city within and the family homes outside.
Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of the garden city movement, cited Adelaide as an example of how green open space could be used to prevent cities from expanding beyond their boundaries and coalescing. 94 His design for an ideal city, published in his 1902 book Garden Cities of To-morrow, envisaged separate concentric rings of public buildings, parks, retail space, residential areas and industrial areas, all surrounded by open space and farmland. All retail activity was to be conducted within a single glass-roofed building, an early concept for the modern shopping centre inspired by the Crystal Palace. :4:
However, these planned or ideal cities were static designs embodied in a single masterplan. What was lacking was a regulatory mechanism to allow the city to develop over time, setting guidelines to developers and private citizens over what could be built where. This came in 1916, when New York City enacted the first city-wide zoning ordinance. (1926). It has been the dominant system of zoning in North America since its first implementation.Single-use zoning is known as Euclidean zoning in North America because of a court case in Euclid, Ohio, which established its constitutionality, Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co. 272 U.S. 365
The application of single-use zoning has led to the distinctive form of many cities in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in which a very dense urban core, often containing skyscrapers, is surrounded by low density residential suburbs, characterised by large gardens and leafy streets. Some metropolitan areas such as Minneapolis–St Paul and Sydney have several such cores.
Critics argue that putting everyday uses out of walking distance of each other leads to an increase in traffic since people have to get in their cars and drive to meet their needs throughout the day. Single-use zoning and urban sprawl have also been criticized as making work–family balance more difficult to achieve, as greater distances need to be covered in order to integrate the different life domains.These issues are especially acute in the United States, with its high level of car usage combined with insufficient or poorly maintained urban rail and metro systems.
Euclidean zoning has been described as a functionalist way of thinking that uses mechanistic principles to conceive of the city as a fixed machine. This conception is in opposition to the view of the city as a continually evolving organism or living system, as first espoused by the German urbanist Hans Reichow.
Another avenue of criticism of zoning laws comes from those who see the restrictions as a violation of individuals' property rights. With zoning, a property owner may not be able to use her land for her desired purpose. Some economists claim that single-use zoning laws work against economic efficiency and hinder development in a free economy, as poor zoning restrictions hinder the more efficient usage of a given area. Even without zoning restrictions, a landfill, for example, would likely gravitate to cheaper land and not a residential area. Single-use zoning laws can get in the way of creative developments like mixed-use buildings and can even stop harmless activities like yard sales. [ unreliable source ]
Planning and community activist Jane Jacobs wrote extensively on the connections between the separation of uses and the failure of urban renewal projects in New York City. She advocated dense mixed use developments and walkable streets. In contrast to villages and towns, in which many residents know one another, and low-density outer suburbs that attract few visitors, cities and inner city areas have the problem of maintaining order between strangers. 26,39–44 This order is maintained when, throughout the day and evening, there are sufficient people present with eyes on the street :45-65. This can be accomplished in successful urban districts that have a great diversity of uses, creating interest and attracting visitors. :155-190 Jacob's writings, along with increasing concerns about urban sprawl, are often credited with inspiring the New Urbanism movement.:
To accommodate the New Urbanist vision of walkable communities combining cafés, restaurants, offices and residential development in a single area, mixed-use zones have been created within some zoning systems. These still use the basic regulatory mechanisms of zoning, excluding incompatible uses such as heavy industry or sewage farms, while allowing compatible uses such as residential, commercial and retail activities so that people can live, work and socialise within a compact geographic area.
Form-based zoning regulates not the type of land use, but the form that land use may take. For instance, form-based zoning in a dense area may insist on low setbacks, high density, and pedestrian accessibility. Form-based codes (FBCs) are designed to directly respond to the physical structure of a community in order to create more walkable and adaptable environments.
New York's 1916 Zoning Resolution also contained elements of form-based zoning. This was a reaction to The Equitable Building which towered over the neighbouring residences, diminishing the availability of sunshine. It mandated setbacks to tall buildings involving a mathematical formula based on the height and lot size, and led to the iconic shapes of many early skyscrapers. New York City went on to develop ever more complex regulations, including floor-area ratio regulations, air rights and others for specific neighborhoods.
The French planning system is mostly form-based; zoning codes in French cities generally allow many types of uses.The key differences between zones are based on the density of each use on a site. For example, a low-density zone may have the same permissible uses as a high-density zone. However, the proportion of residential uses in the low-density zone would be greater than in the high-density zone for economic rather than regulatory reasons.
The city of Paris has used its zoning system to concentrate high density office buildings in the district of La Défense rather than allow heritage buildings across the city to be demolished to make way for them, as is often the case in London or New York.The construction of the Montparnasse Tower in 1973 led to an outcry. As a result, two years after its completion the construction of buildings over seven storeys high in the city centre was banned.
Conditional zoning allows for increased flexibility and permits municipalities to respond to the unique features of a particular land use application. Uses which might be disallowed under current zoning, such as a school or a community center can be permitted via conditional use zoning. Conditional use permits (also called special use permits) enable land uses that because of their special nature may be suitable only in certain locations, or arranged or operated in a particular manner.
The legal framework for land use zoning in Australia is established by States and Territories, hence each State or Territory has different zoning rules. Land use zones are generally defined at local government level, and most often called Planning Schemes. In reality, however in all cases the state governments have an absolute ability to overrule the local decision-making. There are administrative appeal processes such as VCAT to challenge decisions.
|State / Territory||Planning framework||Land use regulation|
|ACT||Territory Plan 2008||Land Use Policy|
|NT||Planning Act||Planning Scheme|
|NSW||Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979||Local Environmental Plans (LEP)|
|QLD||Sustainable Planning Act 2009 repealed. Planning Act 2016||Planning Schemes|
|SA||Development Act 1993||Development Plan|
|TAS||Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993||Planning Schemes|
|VIC||Planning and Environment Act 1987||Planning Schemes|
|WA||Planning and Development Act 2005||Planning Schemes|
Statutory planning otherwise known as town planning, development control or development management, refers to the part of the planning process that is concerned with the regulation and management of changes to land use and development.Planning and zoning have a great political dimension, with governments often criticized for favouring developers; also nimbyism is very prevalent.
In Canada, land-use control is a provincial responsibility deriving from the constitutional authority over property and civil rights. This authority had been granted to the provinces under the British North America Acts of 1867 and was carried forward in the Constitution Act, 1982. The zoning power relates to real property, or land and the improvements constructed thereon that become part of the land itself (in Québec, immeubles). The provinces empowered the municipalities and regions to control the use of land within their boundaries, letting the municipalities establish their own zoning by-laws. There are provisions for control of land use in unorganized areas of the provinces. Provincial tribunals are the ultimate authority for appeals and reviews.
In France, the Code of Urbanism or Code de L'Urbanisme a national law, guides regional and local planning and outlines procedures for obtaining building permits. Unlike England where planners must use their discretion to allow use or building type changes, private development in France is permitted as long as the developer follows the legally-binding regulations.
Districts are classified into twelve use zones.Each zone determines a building's shape and permitted uses. A building's shape is controlled by zonal restrictions on allowable floor area ratio and height (in absolute terms and in relation with adjacent buildings and roads). These controls are intended to allow adequate light and ventilation between buildings and on roads. Instead of single-use zoning, zones are defined by the "most intense" use permitted. Uses of lesser intensity are permitted in zones where higher intensity uses are permitted but higher intensity uses are not allowed in lower intensity zones.
|Category 1 Exclusively Low-Rise Residential Zone||Designated for low-rise residential buildings. |
Permitted uses within these buildings include small shops, offices and elementary and high schools.
|Category 2 Exclusively Low-Rise Residential Zone||Designated for low-rise residential buildings with above permitted uses as well as shop buildings with floor area up to 150 m2.|
|Category 1 Medium and High-rise oriented Residential Zone||Designated for medium to high-rise residential buildings with hospitals, university buildings and shop buildings with floor areas up to 500 m2 also permitted.|
|Category 2 Medium and High-rise oriented Residential zone||Same as Category 1 Medium and High-rise oriented Residential zone, except shops and office buildings up to 1,500 m2 are permitted|
|Category 1 residential zone||Designated for residential with other permitted buildings including shops, offices and hotel buildings with floor areas up to 3,000 m2 and auto repair shops up to 50 m2|
|Category 2 residential zone:||Same as Category 1 residential zone, except karaoke boxes are permitted and there are no longer building size restrictions in this zone.|
|Quasi-residential zone||Designated primarily residential with introduction of vehicle-related road facilities. |
Same permitted uses as Category 2 residential zone with addition of theatres, restaurants, stores and other entertainment facilities with more than 10,000 m2 of floor area and warehouses.
|Neighbourhood commercial zone||Designated for neighbourhood-based daily shopping activities. |
Same permitted uses as Quasi-residential zone with addition of auto-repair shops with areas up to 300 m2.
|Commercial zone||Designated for banks, cinemas and department stores. |
Same permitted uses as Neighbourhood commercial zone with addition of public bathhouses
|Quasi-industrial||Designated for light industrial and service facilities. |
Same permitted uses as Commercial zone with addition of factories with some possible danger of environmental degradation.
|Industrial zone||Designated for factories. |
Residences and shopping can be constructed but schools, hospitals and hotels are impermissible
|Exclusively industrial||Designated for factories. All non-factory uses are impermissible.|
New Zealand's planning system is grounded in effects-based Performance Zoning under the Resource Management Act.
The framework for governing land uses in Singapore is administered by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) through the Master Plan.The Master Plan is a statutory document divided into two sections: the plans and the Written Statement. The plans show the land use zoning allowed across Singapore, while the Written Statement provides a written explanation of the zones available and their allowed uses.
The zoning system in the Philippines is explained in the Zoning Ordinance laid out by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), and the cities and municipalities are responsible for regulating land use through ordinances created by each local government unit. The Philippine zoning system is divided into 11 types based on density and usage, and emphasizes the most suitable use and orderliness of the community. Definition of each density may differ between the ordinances of the local government units concerned, so one municipality may define a light density residential zone to allow 4-storey buildings, while another may only permit 2-storey buildings.
|Residential||Intended or primarily used for housing. May be divided into low, medium, or high density areas.|
|Socialized housing||Mostly intended for housing underprivileged citizens, such as slum dwellers.|
|Commercial||Intended for shops, offices and businesses. May be divided into low, medium, or high density areas.|
|Industrial||Intended for industrial facilities. May be divided to light, medium, or heavy use areas.|
|Institutional||Intended for institutional establishments. May be divided to general or special use areas.|
|Agricultural||Intended for farming, aquaculture, and pasture.|
|Agro-industrial||Intended for integrated farming and manufacturing functions.|
|Forest||Intended for forestry.|
|Parks and other recreation||Intended for places of amusement and integration of nature into the community.|
|Water||Includes the municipal waters (seas and lakes), rivers, and streams|
|Tourism||Areas dedicated for tourism activity.|
Under the police power rights, state governments may exercise over private real property. With this power, special laws and regulations have long been made restricting the places where particular types of business can be carried on. In 1904, Los Angeles established the nation's first land-use restrictions for a portion of the city.New York City adopted the first zoning regulations to apply city-wide in 1916.
The constitutionality of zoning ordinances was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1926 case Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co. Among large populated cities in the United States, Houston is unique in having no zoning ordinances.Rather, land use is regulated by other means.
Early zoning practices were subtle and often debated. Some claim the practices started in the 1920swhile others suggest the birth of zoning occurred in New York in 1916. Both of these examples for the start of zoning, however, were urban cases. Zoning becomes an increasing legal force as it continues to expand in its geographical range through its introduction in other urban centres and use in larger political and geographical boundaries. Regional zoning was the next step in increased geographical size of areas under zoning laws. A major difference between urban zoning and regional zoning was that "regional areas consequently seldom bear direct relationship to arbitrary political boundaries". This form of zoning also included rural areas which was counter-intuitive to the theory that zoning was a result of population density. Finally, zoning also expanded again but back to a political boundary again with state zoning.
Zoning codes have evolved over the years as urban planning theory has changed, legal constraints have fluctuated, and political priorities have shifted. The various approaches to zoning can be divided into four broad categories: Euclidean, Performance, Incentive, and form-based.
Named for the type of zoning code adopted in the town of Euclid, Ohio, and approved in a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.Euclidean zoning codes are the most prevalent in the United States. Euclidean zoning is characterized by the segregation of land uses into specified geographic districts and dimensional standards stipulating limitations on development activity within each type of district. Advantages include relative effectiveness, ease of implementation, long-established legal precedent, and familiarity. However, Euclidean zoning has received criticism for its lack of flexibility and institutionalization of now-outdated planning theory.
Also known as "effects-based planning", performance zoning uses performance-based or goal-oriented criteria to establish review parameters for proposed development projects. Performance zoning is intended to provide flexibility, rationality, transparency and accountability, avoiding the arbitrariness of the Euclidean approach and better accommodating market principles and private property rights with environmental protection. Difficulties included a requirement for a high level of discretionary activity on the part of the supervising authority. Performance zoning has not been widely adopted in the USA.
First implemented in Chicago and New York City, incentive zoning is intended to provide a reward-based system to encourage development that meets established urban development goals.Typically, the method establishes a base level of limitations and a reward scale to entice developers to incorporate the desired development criteria. Incentive zoning allows a high degree of flexibility, but can be complex to administer.
Form-based codes offer considerably more governmental latitude in building uses and form than do Euclidean codes. Form-based zoning regulates not the type of land use, but the form that land use may take. For instance, form-based zoning in a dense area may insist on low setbacks, high density, and pedestrian accessibility. FBCs are designed to directly respond to the physical structure of a community in order to create more walkable and adaptable environments.
The United States suffers from greater levels of deurbanization and urban decay than other developed countries,and additional problems such as urban prairies that do not occur elsewhere. Jonathan Rothwell has argued that zoning encourages racial segregation. He claims a strong relationship exists between an area's allowance of building housing at higher density and racial integration between blacks and whites in the United States. The relationship between segregation and density is explained by Rothwell and Massey as the restrictive density zoning producing higher housing prices in white areas and limiting opportunities for people with modest incomes to leave segregated areas. Between 1980 and 2000, racial integration occurred faster in areas that did not have strict density regulations than those that did. Rothwell and Massey suggest homeowners and business interests are the two key players in density regulations that emerge from a political economy. They propose that in older states where rural jurisdictions are primarily composed of homeowners, it is the narrow interests of homeowners to block development because tax rates are lower in rural areas, and taxation is more likely to fall on the median homeowner. Business interests are unable to counteract the homeowners' interests in rural areas because business interests are weaker and business ownership is rarely controlled by people living outside the community. This translates into rural communities that have a tendency to resist development by using density regulations to make business opportunities less attractive. Density zoning regulations in the U.S increase residential segregation in metropolitan areas by reducing the availability of affordable housing in some jurisdictions; other zoning regulations like school infrastructure regulations and growth controls are also variables associated with higher segregation. With more permissive zoning regulations there are lower levels of segregation; desegregation is higher in places with more liberal regulations on zoning, allowing the residents to integrate racially.
The United Kingdom does not use zoning as a technique for controlling land use. British land use control began its modern phase after the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947. Rather than dividing municipal maps into land use zones, English planning law places all development under the control of local and regional governments, effectively abolishing the ability to develop land by-right. However, existing development allows land use by-right as long as the use does not constitute a change in the type of land use. A property owner must apply to change land use type of any existing building, and such changes must be consistent with the local and regional land use plans.
Development control or planning control is the element of the United Kingdom's system of town and country planning through which local government regulates land use and new building. There are 421 Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in the United Kingdom. Generally they are the local borough or district council or a unitary authority. They each use a discretionary "plan-led system" whereby development plans are formed and the public consulted. Subsequent development requires planning permission, which will be granted or refused with reference to the development plan as a material consideration.
The plan does not provide specific guidance on what type of buildings will be allowed in a given location, rather it provides general principles for development and goals for the management of urban change. Because planning committees (made up of directly elected local councillors) or in some cases planning officers themselves (via delegated decisions) have discretion on each application for development or change of use made, the system is considered a 'discretionary' one.
Planning applications can differ greatly in scale, from airports and new towns to minor modifications to individual houses. In order to prevent local authorities from being overwhelmed by high volumes of small-scale applications from individual householders, a separate system of permitted development has been introduced. Permitted development rules are largely form-based, but in the absence of zoning, are applied at the national level. Examples include allowing a two storey extension up to three metres at the rear of a property, extensions up to 50% of the original width at each side, and certain types of outbuildings in the garden, provided that no more than 50% of the land area is built over.These are appropriately sized for a typical three bedroom semi-detached property, but must be applied across a wide variety of housing types, from small terraces, to larger detached properties and manor houses.
In August 2020, the UK Government published a consultation document called Planning for the Future.The proposals hint at a move towards zoning, with areas given a Growth, Renewal or Protected designation, with the possibility of "sub-areas within each category", although the document doesn't elaborate on what the details of these might be.
Smart growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in compact walkable urban centers to avoid sprawl. It also advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighborhood schools, complete streets, and mixed-use development with a range of housing choices. The term "smart growth" is particularly used in North America. In Europe and particularly the UK, the terms "compact city", "urban densification" or "urban intensification" have often been used to describe similar concepts, which have influenced government planning policies in the UK, the Netherlands and several other European countries.
Growth management, in the United States, is a set of techniques used by the government to ensure that as the population grows that there are services available to meet their demands. Growth management goes beyond traditional land use planning, zoning and subdivision controls in both the characteristics of development influenced and the scope of government powers used. These are not necessarily only government services. Other demands such as the protection of natural spaces, sufficient and affordable housing, delivery of utilities, preservation of buildings and places of historical value, and sufficient places for the conduct of business are also considered.
A variance is a deviation from the set of rules a municipality applies to land use and land development, typically a zoning ordinance, building code or municipal code. The manner in which variances are employed can differ greatly depending on the municipality. A variance may also be known as a standards variance, referring to the development standards contained in code. A variance is often granted by a Board or Committee of adjustment.
Land-use planning is the process of regulating the use of land in an effort to promote more desirable social and environmental outcomes as well as a more efficient use of resources. Goals of land use planning may include environmental conservation, restraint of urban sprawl, minimization of transport costs, prevention of land use conflicts, and a reduction in exposure to pollutants. By and large, the uses of land determine the diverse socioeconomic activities that occur in a specific area, the patterns of human behavior they produce, and their impact on the environment.
Inclusionary zoning (IZ), also known as inclusionary housing, refers to municipal and county planning ordinances that require a given share of new construction to be affordable by people with low to moderate incomes. The term inclusionary zoning indicates that these ordinances seek to counter exclusionary zoning practices, which aim to exclude low-cost housing from a municipality through the zoning code. There are variations among different inclusionary zoning programs. Firstly, they can be mandatory or voluntary. Though voluntary programs exist, the great majority has been built as a result of local mandatory programmes requiring developers to include the affordable units in their developments. There are also variations among the set-aside requirements, affordability levels coupled with the period of control. In order to encourage engagements in these zoning programs, developers are awarded with incentives for engaging in these programs, such as density bonus, expedited approval and fee waivers.
Floor area ratio (FAR) is the ratio of a building's total floor area to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. It is often used as one of the regulations in city planning along with the building-to-land ratio. The terms can also refer to limits imposed on such a ratio through zoning.
A setback, sometimes called step-back, is a step-like recession in a wall. Setbacks were initially used for structural reasons, but now are often mandated by land use codes, or are used for aesthetic reasons. In densely built-up areas, setbacks also help get more daylight and fresh air to the street level. Importantly, a setback helps lower the building's center of mass, making it more stable.
The urban-to-ruraltransect is an urban planning model created by New Urbanist Andrés Duany. The transect defines a series of zones that transition from sparse rural farmhouses to the dense urban core. Each zone is fractal in that it contains a similar transition from the edge to the center of the neighborhood. The transect is an important part of the New Urbanism and smart growth movements. Duany's firm DPZ has embodied the transect philosophy into their SmartCode generic planning code for municipal ordinances.
A planned unit development (PUD) is a type of building development and also a regulatory process. As a building development, it is a designed grouping of both varied and compatible land uses, such as housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, all within one contained development or subdivision.
(See also the Form-based section of the Zoning in the United States article.)
Mixed-use development is a term used for two related concepts:
SmartCode is a unified land development ordinance template for planning and urban design. Originally developed by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, this open source program is a model form-based unified land development ordinance designed to create walkable neighborhoods across the full spectrum of human settlement, from the most rural to the most urban, incorporating a transect of character and intensity within each. It folds zoning, subdivision regulations, urban design, and basic architectural standards into one compact document. Because the SmartCode enables community vision by coding specific outcomes that are desired in particular places, it is meant to be locally calibrated by professional planners, architects, and attorneys.
A special use permit authorizes land uses that are allowed and encouraged by the ordinance and declared harmonious with the applicable zoning district.
Spot zoning is the application of zoning to a specific parcel or parcels of land within a larger zoned area when the rezoning is usually at odds with a city's master plan and current zoning restrictions. Spot zoning may be ruled invalid as an "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable treatment" of a limited parcel of land by a local zoning ordinance. While zoning regulates the land use in whole districts, spot zoning makes unjustified exceptions for a parcel or parcels within a district.
Zoning in the United States includes various land use laws falling under the police power rights of state governments and local governments to exercise authority over privately owned real property. The earliest zoning laws originated with the Los Angeles zoning ordinances of 1908 and the New York City Zoning resolution of 1916. Starting in the early 1920s, the United States Commerce Department drafted model zoning and planning ordinances in the 1920s to facilitate states in drafting enabling laws. Also in the early 1920s, a lawsuit challenged a local zoning ordinance in a suburb of Cleveland, which was eventually reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.
A Residential Cluster Development, or open space development, is the grouping of residential properties on a development site in order to use the extra land as open space, recreation or agriculture. It is increasingly becoming popular in subdivision development because it allows the developer to spend much less on land and obtain much the same price per unit as for detached houses. The shared garden areas can be a source of conflict however. Claimed advantages include more green/public space, closer community, and an optimal storm water management. Cluster development often encounters planning objections.
Exclusionary zoning is the use of zoning ordinances in a manner that excludes from certain zoning districts persons protected by law from discrimination. As of the 2010s, zoning ordinances are standard in almost all communities, and occasionally the ordinances produce exclusionary zones. Exclusionary zoning was introduced in the early 1900s, typically to prevent racial and ethnic minorities from moving into middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. Municipalities seek to use zoning to safeguard the health, property, and public welfare by controlling the design, location, use, or occupancy of all buildings and structures by the regulated and orderly development of land and land uses. That sometimes inadvertently limits the supply of available housing units, such as by prohibiting multi-family residential dwellings or setting minimum lot size requirements, which may deter racial and economic integration.
The Town Planning Board is a statutory body of the Hong Kong Government tasked with developing urban plans with an aim to ensuring the "health, safety, convenience and general welfare of the community through the process of guiding and controlling the development and use of land, and to bring about a better organised, efficient and desirable place to live and work." It is founded upon section 2 of the Town Planning Ordinance.
Missing Middle Housing consists of multi-unit housing types such as duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts, and mansion apartments that are not bigger than a large house, that are integrated throughout most walkable pre-1940s neighborhoods, often integrated into blocks with primarily single-family homes, and that provide diverse housing choices and generate enough density to support transit and locally-serving commercial amenities. Although many of these are a common feature in pre-war building stocks, these housing types have become much less common.
in 1916 New York became the first city to implement this type of zoning law, later upheld in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926). “Operating from the premise that everything has its place, [Euclidean] zoning is the comprehensive division of a city into different use zones.”
Euclidean zoning is the most prevalent form of zoning in the United States, and thus is most familiar to planners and design professionals.