Where would you feel safer walking alone at 3 A.M: a busy, heavily trafficked street, or a loosely populated section of a sprawling city? Most people would likely choose the former. Indeed, higher population densities can make city streets feel safer at all hours—while also fostering commercial activity and giving cities an attractive, bustling character.
Land-use planning and zoning are cities' primary tools for increasing density and supporting high quality services. Land-use planning broadly guides development, while zoning laws regulate specific areas of land and dictate how they can be used. Without these regulations and incentives, many developers will continue to build where it is most cost-efficient: outside of the city. For example Euclidian—or single-use—zoning is the dominant style of zoning and is often blamed for encouraging sprawl because it splits land up into segregated residential, commercial, and industrial zones.
However, there are alternative tools that cities can use to increase density, including: density bonuses, inclusionary zoning, incentive zoning, land assembly, and graduated density zoning. We group these into 3 types of zoning and land-use planning tools that cities can use to foster density and growth.
By Mona Qureshi and Robin King. Published by TheCityFix on 18 August 2015.