Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Garnett on Mixed Land-Use Urban Neighborhoods

Nicole Garnett (Notre Dame) has added to her extensive body of work on land use, order, and quality of life in America's cities (read her book Ordering the City) by posting The People Paradox on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

American land-use regulators increasingly embrace mixed-land-use "urban" neighborhoods, rather than single-land-use "suburban" ones, as a planning ideal. This shift away from traditional regulatory practice reflects a growing endorsement of Jane Jacobs’s influential argument that mixed-land-use urban neighborhoods are safer and more socially cohesive than single-use suburban ones. Proponents of regulatory reforms encouraging greater mixing of residential and commercial land uses, however, completely disregard a sizable empirical literature suggesting that commercial land uses generate, rather than suppress, crime and disorder and that suburban communities have higher levels of social capital than urban communities. This Article constructs a case for mixed-land-use planning that tackles the uncomfortable reality that these studies present. That case is built upon an apparent paradox: In urban communities, people do not, apparently, make us safer. But they do make us feel safer. This "People Paradox" suggests that, despite an apparent tension between city busyness and safety, land-use regulations that enable mixed-land-use neighborhoods may advance several important urban development goals. It also suggests an often-overlooked connection between land-use and policing policies.

Jim K.

Books, Community Design, Comprehensive Plans, Crime, Density, Form-Based Codes, Housing, New Urbanism, Planning, Scholarship, Smart Growth, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink

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Jim -

This seems like a chicken and egg thing. Do folks who live in the suburbs have more social capital because they're more well off, or vice versa? Disadvantaged populations often live in urban areas, so there are many variables at work here. I'll read this article with interest. Thanks!


Posted by: Jamie Baker Roskie | Feb 17, 2011 1:05:30 PM


I will also be thinking about questions along this line as I move forward with my article on metropolitan affordable housing land trusts. I am going to be looking at the work of Nicole (my soon-to-be-colleague!) and her mentor, Bob Ellickson, as I think about why we work to achieve and sustain residential economic diversity.

Jim K.

Posted by: Jim Kelly | Feb 18, 2011 5:56:44 PM