Why America keeps condoning its zoning

So, why did America adopt its decades-old exclusionary zoning policies and culture? Blame the central governments of the 1920s: The leap from morality to legalism was solidified by the Euclid Supreme Court decision of 1926, which confirmed cities’ right to segregate land uses. Around that time, the American Planning Association encouraged cities to adopt zoning […]

Quotes on sprawl from ‘Suburban Nation’

(Jon) I’ve been reading “Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream,” and have been appreciating the authors’ analysis of suburban planning. Who knows if I’ll agree with their solutions. Here are some quotes from the beginning of the book: Since each piece of suburbia serves only one type of […]

The New Slum?

(Scott) Are suburbs the new slum? Great article at theatlantic.com. Especially page three, where the author predicts the future. For 60 years, Americans have pushed steadily into the suburbs, transforming the landscape and (until recently) leaving cities behind. But today the pendulum is swinging back toward urban living, and there are many reasons to believe […]

‘Unsustainable housing meets unsustainable finance’

(Jon) Triple Pundit gives its view on the “sub-prime meltdown,” and it says it’s simply too many people buying too much house with too little money. Look at the areas hardest hit by the sub-prime collapse: “Subdivisions built on the edges of urban areas where once arable land is bulldozed to make way for over-sized, […]

Looking at paleo-urbanism

There’s plenty of talk about New Urbanism in city planning circles nowadays. But Eric Jacobsen (pictured), author of the great book “Sidewalks in the Kingdom,” makes a valid point about how the impact of New Urbanism may remain isolated. After a discussion and critique of the New Urbanist town of Seaside, Florida, Jacobsen turns his […]

Front Porches vs. American Idol

Tonight I’m sitting out on the front porch of our 100-year old rental house in a paleo-urbanistic neighborhood, and I’m quite enjoying myself. The porch light is on, my pipe is lighted, my legs are propped up on the balustrade, and a slight chill is in the air. Though dark outside, the old-fashioned street lamps […]

The battle of Water Song addition

If a developer told you he was going to build a gas station on the property behind your house, after you were told by the home builder that the property’s zoned for an office park, what would you do? Some residents of Water Song addition near the corner of Coldwater and Union Chapel roads want […]