Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Who needs zoning in a metro area that has been an exemplar of sprawl, and where land uses have been separated well by covenants and culture? These are some of the reasons why Houston has resisted thorough zoning and land use laws for so long. But things may be changing, as explained in this recent article from the Houston Chronicle. One reason that the topic is gaining more traction: the rise of new dense construction plans in a city traditionally famous for its low density.
Houston’s decisions will be fascinating politics and law, because the adoption of new land use laws could go in various directions: traditional, anti-density laws to help affluent homeowners; laws favoring “smart” density; laws that give local autonomy; and an infinity of variants.
To me, the outcome of this debate in Houston and elsewhere is more fascinating, and more important for the future of the typical American, than the squabbling of presidential candidates about who is more in touch with the average Joe and Juanita. But that’s just me ….