Reshaping the City: Zoning for a More Equitable, Sustainable, and Resilient Future


2023-03-24T13:00:00 - 2023-03-24T14:15:00

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    Registration is complimentary and open to everyone.

    Learn from cross-sector experts about opportunities related to updating zoning in communities across the United States. The webinar will, 1) highlight connections among traditional zoning and land use challenges cities and towns are grappling with today, 2) make the case for updating zoning policies to support health, social equity, climate action, and resilience—with a focus on aligning zoning with community priorities and real estate development objectives, and 3) share promising examples of zoning policy updates from across the United States.  This webinar will be co-hosted by Smart Growth America.



    Nolan Gray

    University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

    M. Nolan Gray, author of Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It, is a professional city planner and an expert in urban land-use regulation. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gray previously worked on the front lines of zoning as a planner in New York City. He now serves as an Affiliated Scholar with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he advises state and local policymakers on land-use policy. Gray is a contributor to Market Urbanism and a widely published author, with work appearing in outlets such as The Atlantic, Bloomberg Citylab, and The Guardian. He lives in Los Angeles, California and is originally from Lexington, Kentucky.


    Jeremy Sharp

    Zoning Administrator, City of Norfolk

    Currently serving as Norfolk’s Zoning Administrator, Jeremy has worked as a local government urban planner in Virginia since 2005, and for the City of Norfolk since 2008. In that time, his work has been recognized multiple times for planning excellence – including three state-wide planning awards. Jeremy has been responsible for bringing several major projects to completion, including, most notably, Norfolk’s 2013 comprehensive plan (plaNorfolk2030), its 2016 sea level rise adaptation strategy (Vision 2100), and its 2018 zoning ordinance rewrite. Jeremy holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech.


    Toccarra Thomas

    Director of Land Use and Development, Smart Growth America

    Toccarra Nicole Thomas, AICP, is the Director of Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America. Her role includes leading the Form Based Codes Institute (FBCI) as well as other projects and initiatives. In this role, Toccarra leads thought leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance work to further our mission to create prosperous, resilient, and healthy communities. Toccarra believes that communities should be inclusive and welcoming to all and she is particularly passionate about housing for all. Toccarra graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning, where as a HUD Scholar she focused on the deployment and maintenance of affordable homeownership in Florida. Prior to joining SGA, Toccarra worked on a variety of technical projects in North California, including certifying and adopting the 5th Cycle Housing Element for the County of Lake, writing 6th Cycle Housing Elements for Bay Area communities, implementing a pre-approved Accessory Dwelling Unit Permit process, and developing strategies to encourage workforce housing in a rural farming community.


    Heather Worthington

    Managing Consultant, Center for Economic Inclusion

    Heather Worthington joined the team at the Center for Economic Inclusion in November 2022 as Managing Consultant for the Center’s Consulting Division. A leader in local governments for more than 20 years, including most recently as Interim Community Development Director in Bloomington, MN, Director of Long-Range Planning in Minneapolis and Deputy County Manager in Ramsey County, MN. In Minneapolis, her team led the creation, engagement, and policy adoption of the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. In 2020, she founded Worthington Advisors, a consultancy focused on leadership and policy advising, recruitment and retention work with teams, and land use and strategy guidance all through a racial equity lens. Heather is committed to seeking authentic community engagement and leading racial equity efforts to strengthen communities that have experienced disparities, disinvestment, and marginalization. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University, a BA in History/Historic Preservation from Michigan State University, and a certificate from the State and Local Executives Program from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She serves as Adjunct Faculty in the MPA program at Hamline University, and chairs the Midway Investment Cooperative, a real-estate cooperative aimed at increasing BIPOC ownership of real estate through capital access, stable housing and displacement prevention work.