Zoning is the process of dividing land in a municipality into zones (e.g. residential, industrial) in which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited. The type of zone determines whether planning permission for a given development is granted. Zoning may specify a variety of outright and conditional uses of land. It may also indicate the size and dimensions of land area as well as the form and scale of buildings. These guidelines are set in order to guide urban growth and development.
Ancient forms of zoning
China, Mesopotamia, etc.
See: Hirt, Sonia. Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation (Cornell University Press, 2014).
Around the turn of the 20th century, a rapid urbanization process and influx of immigrants transformed the country. Middle and upper-classes consequently encountered much greater diversity than they had before making the intrusion of unwanted people into their neighborhoods appear more conceivable. As a result, many cities began implementing the first exclusionary zoning policies. In 1908, Los Angeles adopted the first citywide zoning ordinance protecting residential areas from the entrance of these undesirable community elements. Many of these early regulations directly darred racial and ethnic minorities from community residence, until explicit racial zoning was declared unconstitutional in 1917.
1908 Los Angeles "Residence Districts" ordinance
1908 Los Angeles "Industrial Districts" ordinance
1916 New York City comprehensive zoning ordinance
The United States federal government finally addressed the issue with the enactment of the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act of 1922. This legislation established a model framework for zoning ordinances, which states could adopt or adapt to delegate land-use power to local authorities for the protection of "public safety, health, morals and welfare."
The Supreme Court considered zoning's constitutionality in the 1926 landmark case of Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co.. The court ultimately condoned zoning as an acceptable means of community regulation. Following this verdict, the number of municipalities with zoning legislation multiplied from 368 in 1925 to over 1,000 in 1930.
Also in 1926, as part of a national program to promote adoption of zoning ordinances, the U.S. Advisory Committee on Zoning, appointed by Secretary Hebert Hoover, release a pamphlet: "A Zoning Primer." see [United States 1926].
- CHARLES B. BALL Secretary Treasurer, City Planning Division, Sanitary Engineer. American Society of Civil Engineers.
- EDWARD M. BASSETT Counsel, Zoning Committee of New York. Lawyer.
- ALFRED BETTMAN Director, National Conference on City Planning. Lawyer.
- IRVING B. HIETT Ex-President, National Association of Real Realtor. Estate Boards.
- JOHN IHLDER Manager, Civic Development Department of the Housing Consultant. Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
- MORRIS KNOWLES From the Chamber of Commerce of the United Consulting Engineer. States; Chairman, City Planning Division, American Society of Civil Engineers.
- J. HORACE McFARLAND Ex-President, The American Civic Association. Master Printer and Civic Investigator.
- FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED Ex-President, The American Society of Landscape Architects; Ex-President, American City Planning Institute.
- LAWRENCE VEILLER Secretary and Director, The National Housing Housing Expert. Association.
- JOHN M. GRIES Chief, Division of Building and Housing, Bureau of Standards
- Department of Commerce
- Bertolet, Dan."Exclusionary Zoning Robs Our Cities of Their Best Qualities." Sightline.org, 2016-04-20.
- Erickson, Amanda. "The Birth of Zoning Codes, a History." Citylab, 19 Jun 2012.
- Furth, Salim. “The Two-Board Knot: Zoning, Schools, and Inequality.” American Affairs Journal, Winter 2017.
- Glaeser, Edward. "Reforming land use regulations." Brookings Institute, April 24, 2017. https://www.brookings.edu/research/reforming-land-use-regulations/.
- Kent, T. J. The Urban General Plan. At Internet Archive: .
classic work, long used as a planning textbook, by influential Bay Area planner and educator T. J. Kent.
- Ricco, John. “Houston took this winning approach to adding housing. Could DC do the same?” Greater Greater Washington, September 8, 2016. https://ggwash.org/view/42799/houston-took-this-winning-approach-to-adding-housing-could-dc-do-the-same.
"in 1999, Houston decreased minimum residential lot size from 5,000 square feet to 1,400 in close-in neighborhoods...Areas once entirely ranch-style houses, McMansions, and underused lots are now covered in townhouses."
- United States. Dept. of Commerce. Advisory Committee on City Planning and Zoning. "A zoning primer by the Advisory committee on zoning appointed by Secretary Hoover." 1926.
- White, Gillian B. "How Zoning Laws Exacerbate Inequality." The Atlantic, Nov 23, 2015. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/11/zoning-laws-and-the-rise-of-economic-inequality/417360/.
- White House. Housing Development Toolkit. September, 2016. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/Housing_Development_Toolkit%20f.2.pdf.
- Autor, David H., Christopher J. Palmer and Parag A. Pathak. "Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge, Massachusetts."
- Ellickson, Robert C., "Alternatives to Zoning: Covenants, Nuisance Rules, and Fines as Land Use Controls" (1973). Faculty Scholarship Series. 471. http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/fss_papers/471.
- Ellickson, Robert C. and Thorland, Charles DiA (1995). "Ancient Land Law: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel" (1995). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 410. http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/fss_papers/410.
- Fischel, William A. "Why Are There NIMBYs?" (2000). eminent US land-use/zoning scholar William provides a useful analysis of the NIMBY phenomenon from an economic perspective. https://www.dartmouth.edu/~wfischel/Papers/00-04.PDF.
- Fischel, William A. (2013). "Neighborhood Conservation Districts: The New Belt and Suspenders of Municipal Zoning." 78 Brook. L. Rev. (2013).
- Glaeser, Edward L, Joseph Gyourko and Raven Saks. "Why is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in Housing Prices."
- Glaeser, Edward L, and Bryce A. Ward. "The causes and consequences of land use regulation: Evidence from Greater Boston." Journal of Urban Economics 65 (2009) 265–278. DOI:10.1016/j.jue.2008.06.003.
PDF from author: https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/the_causes_and_consequences_of_land_use_regulation_evidence_from_greater_boston_2009.pdf.
- Hall, Peter. "The Containment of Urban England." The Geographical Journal, Vol. 140, No. 3 (Oct., 1974), pp. 386-408. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1796533. [article summary of Hall's 1973 book of the same name].
- Hills, Roderick M. Hills, and David Schleicher. "Planning an Affordable City." 101 Iowa Law Review 91 (2015).
"The solution to this housing crisis is economically simple but politically difficult. As a matter of economic rationality, local governments should deregulate their housing markets to allow an increased housing supply to meet a rising demand for housing. As a political matter, however, incumbent residents who already own housing vociferously and effectively protest against the reduction of zoning restrictions."
How, then, to free up urban land markets from the stranglehold of zoning driven by NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) neighbors? We argue, paradoxically, that the solution to excessive zoning is centralized, comprehensive, and binding land-use planning.
We argue in Part III.A that binding, comprehensive plans allow legislators to create “contracts” across electoral districts that are otherwise impossible when zoning proceeds through piecemeal lot-by-lot bargaining." Comprehensive plan.
"We argue in Part III.B that parcel-by-parcel bargaining imposes high information costs on outside investors, thereby reducing the market for investment in new housing to a handful of local insiders with incentives to constrain supply."
"Prescriptions below in Part IV, including the idea that mayors and city planning departments ought to regularly redraw the citywide zoning map to comprehend all pending development proposals, a process that would look something like an annual budgeting process. [see Zoning budget -Yimbywiki]. Other proposals include fixed prices, defined ex ante in the zoning ordinance, for additional building rights [see Transfer of development rights -Yimbywiki] and prohibitions on any downzoning until citywide housing goals, defined with hard figures like vacancy rates or building permits issued, are met."
- Hills, Roderick M, Jr, and David Schleicher. "Can ‘Planning’ Deregulate land use?" Regulation (Cato Institute), Fall 2015. https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/2015/9/regulation-v38n3-1.pdf,
"To overcome NIMBY politics and development constraints, urban areas should consider binding, comprehensive, citywide plans."
- Hsieh, Chang-Tai, and Enrico Moretti. "Housing Constraints and Spatial Misallocation." Working paper, May 18, 2017. http://eml.berkeley.edu//~moretti/growth.pdf.
[earlier version: Hsieh, Chang-Tai, and Enrico Moretti. "Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth." NBER Working Paper 21154, 2015. http://www.nber.org/papers/w21154. Preprint: http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=housing_law_and_policy.]
- Huang, Haifang, and Yao Tang. "Residential Land Use Regulation and the US Housing Price Cycle Between 2000 and 2009."
- Lens, Michael C., and Paavo Monkkonen. "Do Strict Land Use Regulations Make Metropolitan Areas More Segregated by Income?" Journal of the American Planning Association, Volume 82, 2016 - Issue 1. Published online 2015-12-28. DOI.
UCLA Working Paper: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/Documents/areas/ctr/ziman/2015-04WP.pdf.
- Lewyn, Michael. "The Roots of Expensive Zoning." Real Estate Law Journal Vol. 45 Iss. 2 (2016) p. 256 - 266
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lewyn/118/.
[review of Zoning Rules by William Fischel].
- Lewyn, Michael. "Does the Threat of Gentrification Justify Restrictive Zoning?". Real Estate Law Journal (2017) @mlewyn https://works.bepress.com/lewyn/150/. @mlewyn
[he argues, generally no].
- Mangin, John."The New Exclusionary Zoning." Stanford Law & Policy Review Vol. 25:91 (2014). https://journals.law.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/stanford-law-policy-review/print/2014/01/mangin_25_stan._l._poly_rev_91.pdf.
- Hankinson, Michael. “When Do Renters Behave Like Homeowners? High Rent, Price Anxiety, and NIMBYism.” draft, 2017.
- Parkhomenko, Andrii. "The Rise of Housing Supply Regulation in the U.S.: Local Causes and Aggregate Implications." Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Barcelona GSE. Working paper, January 5, 2017. https://www.andrii-parkhomenko.net/files/Parkhomenko_JMP.pdf.
"Abstract: Regulatory restrictions on housing supply have been rising in recent decades in the U.S. and have become a major determinant of house prices. What are the implications of the rise in regulation for aggregate productivity, and for wage and house price dispersion across metropolitan areas?....I find that the rise in regulation accounts for 23% of the increase in wage dispersion and 85% of the increase in house price dispersion across metro areas from 1980 to 2007."
- Quigley, John M., and Steven Raphael. "Regulation and the High Cost of Housing in California."
- Rothwell, Jonathan, and Douglas S. Massey. "The Effect of Density Zoning on Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas."
- Rothwell, Jonathan, and Douglas S. Massey. "Density Zoning and Class Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas."
- Schleicher, David. "City Unplanning". Yale Law Journal, __. A thorough review of US zoning's legal underpinnings, the economic dynamics produced, and some ways to counteract indesirable outcomes. PDF: http://www.yalelawjournal.org/pdf/1162_m41e7ifa.pdf.
- Angotti, Tom , and Sylvia Morse, Philip DePaolo, Peter Marcuse, Samuel Stein. Zoned Out! Race, Displacement, and City Planning in New York City. 2016.
- Avent, Ryan. The Gated City (2011).
- Babcock. The Zoning Game (1966).
- Fischel, William A. Zoning Rules!: The Economics of Land Use Regulation (2015).
- Fulton, William, and Paul Shigley. Guide to California Planning (4th edition, 2012). 3rd edition, 2005, available free on LibGen. https://libgen.pw/view.php?id=620298/
- George, Henry.
- Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth: The Remedy(1879).
- Progress and Poverty. Modernized edition by Bob Drake, 2006. http://www.henrygeorge.org/pintro.htm.
- Hall, Peter. Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century (2002).
- Hirt, Sonia. Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation (Cornell University Press, 2014).
- Levy, John M. Contemporary Urban Planning (9th Edition, 2010).
- Marcuse, Peter, and David Madden. In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis. 2016. https://www.amazon.com/Defense-Housing-Politics-Crisis/dp/1784783544.
- McHarg, Ian L. Design With Nature (1969).
"pioneered the concept of ecological planning...continues to be one of the most widely celebrated books on landscape architecture and land-use planning." -Wikipedia.
- Ross, Benjamin. Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism. (Oxford University Press, 2014). Amazon.
- Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. 2017.
- Ryan-Collins, Josh, Toby Lloyd, Laurie Macfarlane. Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing. 2017.
- Toll, Seymour. Zoned American (1969). Outstanding legal/cultural study of the origins and development of US zoning practices. PDF full text (60MB).
- 100 Essential Books of Planning, from American Planning Association (2009).
Weiss, Marc. The Rise of the Community Builders.