Urban Land Institute Statement on Passing of Trailblazing Architect and ULI Life Trustee, Gene Kohn
Read more about Gene's legacy and contributions to ULI.
A new report explores how zoning updates can break down barriers to development, improve housing attainability, sustainability, climate resilience, and community health
NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: Members of the media and public are invited to a free webinar on the report’s key findings Friday, March 24, from 1-2:15 p.m. Eastern. Click here to register.
WASHINGTON (March 20, 2023) – A recent report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) details how updating zoning regulations can create more livable and equitable places by increasing housing attainability, reducing carbon emissions, promoting social equity, and improving community health. When done right, these updates also hold potential to streamline the development process and expand opportunity for small-scale developers.
Reshaping the City: Zoning for a More Equitable, Resilient, and Sustainable Future outlines how communities are updating zoning to address many of the issues and opportunities that American cities face today—including the need to increase the housing supply, incentivize low-carbon development, create more walkable places, and prepare for the effects of climate change. The report features a section on form-based codes—land development regulations centered on physical form rather than separation of uses—drafted by Smart Growth America.
“Three-quarters of the land in major U.S. cities today is zoned exclusively for single-family homes,” said report author Matthew Norris, Senior Director with the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative. “This contributes to community segregation, exacerbates the housing attainability crisis, and deepens our dependency on cars—leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions. We hope to share valuable insights in this report that can help municipalities update their zoning to support equitable development objectives, encourage a variety of housing types, and advance the types of walkable, mixed-use projects the market demands.”
Categorized into five distinct zoning approaches, the report offers case studies to highlight how cities and towns across the United States are using zoning tools already familiar to many cities to align policies around key livability and equity goals. Approaches discussed in the report rely on successful coordination among local government leaders, community members, real estate developers, and other stakeholders. They include:
“We have the power to choose how our neighborhoods look, and communities across the country are advocating to reform their zoning to allow for more attainable housing and mixed-use development to create more places that people want to live,” said Toccarra Nicole Thomas, AICP, Director of Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America. “The Reshaping the City report outlines a menu of zoning reform options, including form-based codes, that restore choice to communities and can move us beyond the inflexibility that has led to the housing crisis caused by traditional zoning.”
The full Reshaping the City: Zoning for a More Equitable, Resilient, and Sustainable Future report can be found on ULI’s Knowledge Finder.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a non-profit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 45,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information on ULI, please visit uli.org, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
About Smart Growth America
Smart Growth America helps create healthy, prosperous, and resilient places to live for all people through research, advocacy, and direct community support. Our work spans housing and land use, transportation, and economic development to find solutions to communities’ most pressing needs. We work with elected officials at all levels, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, transportation, urban planning professionals, and residents to improve everyday life for people across the country through better development. Visit smartgrowthamerica.org.