Our systems of planning and permitting too often give large developers an unfair advantage over local builders. And one little-discussed planning concept does a lot to explain why.
Lexington, Kentucky recently proposed an ordinance that would allow accessory dwelling units. Nolan Gray explains how ADUs are good for renters, good for homeowners, and good for the city — and why Lexington’s ordinance is (almost) perfect.
Many cities impose a minimum lot size on residential neighborhoods—which can lead to more expensive housing and less tax revenue to pay for city services. But do these rules actually lead to bigger lots—or do they just reflect what the market would produce anyway? A new study sheds some light on that question.
If a local resident or business owner with a high school diploma can’t sit down and figure out what she can and cannot do with her property in less than an hour, the zoning regime is exclusionary. Here are five guidelines for making it more accessible to laypeople.
Not every city’s situation is the same—but just about every city that needs more homes could benefit from one or more of these policies.
Historically, a decentralized, trial-and-error process was how cities “discovered” which urban design features worked best for their own circumstances. Let’s look at the evolution of front setbacks in New York to understand how this works.
Professional planners are trained to yearn for tighter urban design controls, as if cities without comprehensive, top-down planning would devolve into chaos and disorder. In reality, cities evolve according to mechanisms that allow us to gradually discover optimal urban design across time.
If granting exceptions to your city’s planning rules is so common as to have become the norm, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the rules themselves.
Following a recent fatal crash, the University of Kentucky is taking a hard look at campus drinking culture. But the city of Lexington needs to pick up the slack on the reasons students feel compelled to drive.
Wide, straight, monumental streets have always served the interests of those in power. They allow for the mobilization of military force, subordinate the unplanned chaos of the city to grandiose visions, and have been used to dispossess and displace small businesses, the poor, and racial and political minorities.
Perhaps we should spend more time trying to understand and appreciate the humble, marginally better neighborhoods that are already tucked away in our cities. Here’s one such neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky.
11 steps to more comprehensive reporting on zoning changes, new developments and everything in between.
Why is your city dotted with vacant lots? Probably because it’s functionally illegal to build on them.
5 things I learned from giving up my car.
In the face of new growth, one city makes a simple change that unlocks huge potential.
Strong, financially resilient neighborhoods emerge organically. Requiring one particular style of construction because we've see it work in other neighborhoods will not achieve this goal.
Lexington, KY offered my young parents an affordable home and a good life decades ago. If we want that opportunity to be available for the next generation, we're going to need to remove a lot of barriers to development.
Three cities are leading the way in expanding bicycle parking.
Not all bike racks are created equal.
As cities face new challenges and opportunities, more and more urbanists are turning to “outsiders” like Strong Towns and Market Urbanism for new ideas.
Forget about the superstar neighborhoods—even most run-of-the-mill inner suburban neighborhoods would be next to impossible to build today.
What we need is not a new and improved vision of urban form but a robust liberal understanding of urban form. This transition involves shifting from thinking of cities as simple machines toward thinking of cities as complex, emergent systems.
Three simple tactics could expand affordable housing options in Lexington, KY and other midsize cities like it.
American towns and states are subsidizing big businesses to the tune of billions of dollars a year. In exchange, we get crappy, big box developments and infrastructure we can't pay afford.
Trailer parks remain one of the last forms of housing in US cities provided by the market explicitly for low-income residents.
Jane Jacobs’ critique of the orthodox urban planning tradition unfolds in three steps, closely following F.A. Hayek’s argument in The Use of Knowledge in Society.