Land-use zoning is designed to mitigate this vicious cycle by giving private owners the confidence that they can invest in their properties and reap the resulting rewards without significant fear of what their neighbors might do to their properties. In reality, comprehensive zoning tries to do a lot more than protect property values and promote investment. It is a powerful tool that also can be applied to other goals of urban planning, such as social equity, efficiency, environmental protection, and even aesthetics. This discussion assignment asks you to investigate the zoning regulations that apply to your own home neighborhood and to reflect on what planning goal(s) those regulations seek to accomplish—and whether or not those goals are actually achieved.
In addition to your own city’s relevant zoning map and ordinance, you may wish to spend some time reviewing more generally your local city planning department’s website. I have provided some links below to get you started, but do not hesitate to ask for assistance finding the relevant information. While city planning has become quite standardized, each city is unique, especially when it comes to how planning information is shared online.
research the zoning rules that apply in the neighborhood around your local home—or another neighborhood with which you are familiar—and then respond to the following six sets of questions. (If you have recently moved or would otherwise like to comment on a specific city/neighborhood you know better, then please investigate the zoning and other planning rules there instead.)
In what designated zone is your home located? What other zones are located nearby? If you would rather rather research and write about a different address in another neighborhood with which you are familiar, you are welcome to do so.
What are the specific rules associated with your home and neighboring zones? (Do not list them all, but summarize the rules that seem most significant)
What goal(s) do you think city leaders are trying to accomplish with these zoning designations? What kind of neighborhood are they trying to effect? Based on your experiences living in the neighborhood, how successful have city leaders been in getting the kind of neighborhood they appear to want?
What changes to the zoning code would you propose to improve the quality of life in that part of the city?
How do your neighborhood’s zoning designations fit into the city’s general or master plan? What other tools, besides the zoning ordinance, are being used to guide the future development of your neighborhood? To what extent are the most important issues facing your neighborhood not best addressed by the city, but instead require region-wide (if not state-wide or nation-wide) planning?