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Do Minimum Lot Size Rules Matter?

Do Minimum Lot Size Rules Matter?

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.

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.

Why Urban Design Should Come From the Bottom Up (Part 1)

Why Urban Design Should Come From the Bottom Up (Part 1)

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.

Let Them Apply for Variances

Let Them Apply for Variances

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.

Wide Streets as a Tool of Oppression

Wide Streets as a Tool of Oppression

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.

Learning to Love a Humble Neighborhood

Learning to Love a Humble Neighborhood

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.

Mixed Up Priorities for Mixed-Use Buildings

Mixed Up Priorities for Mixed-Use Buildings

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.

Where Will Lexington Put 40,000 People?

Where Will Lexington Put 40,000 People?

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.

Towards A Liberal Approach To Urban Form

Towards A Liberal Approach To Urban Form

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.