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Zoning

Housing Markets Should Be More Like Supermarkets

Housing Markets Should Be More Like Supermarkets

In many areas of modern life, the market provides a cornucopia of choices to accommodate people’s diverse needs, wants, and tastes: just visit a supermarket to see this. When it comes to housing options, though, the reality is starkly different.

The Death of the Suburban Fourplex

The Death of the Suburban Fourplex

Most apartments built today are in huge complexes along busy streets, not tucked away in quiet neighborhoods in “missing middle” buildings like fourplexes, which used to be common. But how did the missing middle go missing, anyway?

Why Urban Design Should Come From The Bottom Up (Part 2)

Why Urban Design Should Come From The Bottom Up (Part 2)

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.

We Regulate the Wrong Things

We Regulate the Wrong Things

Most cities’ zoning and development regulations obsess over things that are easy to measure, like building height and density, at the expense of the things that actually determine whether we’re building quality places.

What comes after NEXT?

What comes after NEXT?

Austin needs a new Grand Bargain, one that includes everyone and exempts no one.

So You Want to Build an ADU?

So You Want to Build an ADU?

Let’s walk through what it actually takes to build a small rental apartment on your property in Austin, Texas. It’s a lesson in how the city’s existing code stymies gentle, incremental, small-scale development.

Austin's Bad Party: The Failure of CodeNEXT

Austin's Bad Party: The Failure of CodeNEXT

Austin’s CodeNEXT process, a dramatic overhaul of the city’s zoning code, tried to placate multiple constituencies with a “grand bargain.” The result was a draft code that satisified almost no one and failed to solve the city’s housing and growth challenges.

CodeNEXT or None, Austin Has an Identity Crisis

CodeNEXT or None, Austin Has an Identity Crisis

Where is Austin supposed to put 135,000 new homes in ten years? The city posed the question. Diametrically opposed groups of residents could not come close to agreeing on the answer.

Austin's CodeNEXT

Austin's CodeNEXT

This week we are examining what went wrong with Austin’s CodeNEXT process and what should be done now.

How Zoning Codes Reinforce Car Dependency

How Zoning Codes Reinforce Car Dependency

A look at how regulations shape land use in Marietta, Georgia illustrates a vicious cycle: when your zoning code is premised on car-dependency, car-dependency becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When a Farm Isn’t Really a Farm

When a Farm Isn’t Really a Farm

Now, the story of a wealthy family who sold their farm and the developer who exploited an agricultural tax subsidy to keep it all together.

The Case for Small Commercial Spaces

The Case for Small Commercial Spaces

When large storefronts sit empty for years, holding out for the perfect big tenant, while small businesses can’t find space to rent, we’ve got a serious problem.