A reality check on four myths about zoning and land use regulation: 1. Zoning is un-American, 2. Sparsely populated rural areas don’t need to control uses of land, 3. Land use controls will increase taxes and reduce property values, and 4. Planning is a bad idea.
Taking a Closer Look
Over many years, urban analyst Edward McMahon has taken a closer look at many issues facing our communities — from growth, to development patterns, to urban design. Starting this Fall, columnist Steve McCutchan will also be reporting on PlannersWeb on a broad range of challenging community concerns.
Building codes often make it financially infeasible to rehabilitate older — often historic — buildings by requiring rehab work to meet the same standards as new construction. This approach is changing as states and localities are adopting more flexible building codes.
Despite a growing number of innovative development projects around the country, PCJ columnist Ed McMahon still finds a number of persistent barriers to better development.
Until the last half of the 20th century, key public buildings were almost always designed and built to be focal points of their communities. Unfortunately, in recent decades the trend has been to build cheaply in peripheral locations.
Too often new roadways have been designed to be wider and straighter, without much consideration being given to the character of the surrounding community. In recent years, however, there has been a gradual turn towards more thoughtful, “context sensitive” roadway design.
One of the most important, but often overlooked, contributors to sprawl is the construction of large educational facilities in outlying, undeveloped areas. Edward McMahon takes a look at some of the causes of “school sprawl” — and at some efforts to combat it.
Your town, city, or county undoubtedly has an infrastructure plan dealing with water, sewer, roads, and utilities — the gray infrastructure. But has it planned as well for green infrastructure, such as trails, greenways, river corridors, and bike paths?
What does it take to transform a community from Anyplace, USA into someplace special? Ed McMahon looks at five ways of making a visible difference.
Why has fighting development become a national pastime? Edward McMahon takes a hard look at this question, and offers some suggestions for both developers and planners to consider.
Many people enjoy visiting national parks and other scenic attractions. A growing number have also decided to pack up and move to the small cities and towns close to these special places.
What do suburban town centers, green space as a residential amenity, open space systems, downtown housing, and cooperation between developers and environmentalists have in common?
Successful communities understand that when they say no to development that is contrary to the long-term health of their community, they will almost always get better development in its place, argues PCJ columnist Edward McMahon.
A look at the economic, health, and environmental benefits of biking and walking.