The incorporation of 'green' building standards into local land use law, or urban densification argued as environmentally beneficial.
Urban density as green zoning: 'Ace' Houston et al
Seattle resident and architect Andrew Grant 'Ace' Houston wrote in "A New Emerald City: Banning Exclusionary Zoning, Introducing 'Green Zoning'." 9 August 2019, presenting "Green zoning" as the enivonmentally and social beneficial antithesis to exclusionary zoning.
Houston defines exclusionary zoning as:
single-family zoning, single-unit detached zoning, any rules that limit the number of residences on a piece of land (which is not the same as limits on impervious cover), any rules that limit the number of unrelated people who can live together on a piece of property, et al.
He then presents seven benefits to "Green zoning," achieved by repealing all forms of exclusionary zoning as defined:
- New Homes will be available with Green Zoning
- New Homeowners will be created with Green Zoning
- New Customers will be closer with Green Zoning
- New Commerce will find room in Green Zoning
- New Cultural Centers will be created in Green Zoning
- New Transit Riders will emerge with Green Zoning
- New Green Space will be prioritized with Green Zoning
The focus of this essay is a growing practice to which we can attach the label “Green Zoning” — the incorporation of LEED and competing privately generated standards into local government law, as part of the existing zoning or land use ordinance, or as a free-standing green building ordinance. After reviewing some of the pertinent literature on this topic, this essay will highlight and provide illustrations of six problems with Green Zoning practices:
1. The Delegation Problem — Can and should local laws be based on a moving target (standards set by private parties that continue to change and evolve)?
2. The Compatibility Problem — Are some green building standards inconsistent with good planning practices?
3. The Expertise Problem — Are already overburdened local officials up to the task of incorporating, administering, and overseeing Green Zoning?
4. The Eco-Political Problem — How or should local officials factor in the battles waged over green building standards?
5. The Laboratory Problem — Are variations from locality to locality a good idea, or do state standards make more sense in this area?
6. The Philosophical Problem — What role should builders, architects, and industry experts play in shaping zoning and planning ordinances?
- Houston, Andrew Grant ("Ace"). "A New Emerald City: Banning Exclusionary Zoning, Introducing 'Green Zoning'." House Cosmopolitan blog, 9 August 2019. https://www.housecosmopolitan.com/blog/banning-exclusionary-zoning-introducing-green-zoning
- Wolf, Michael A. "A Yellow Light for 'Green Zoning/: Some Words of Caution About Incorporating Green Building Standards into Local Land Use Law." 43 Urb. Law. 949 (2011), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/300