The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.

Report a Comment

Dear Thayer -

Regulation of what is built makes sense when A. whats built has externalities and B. Those externalities have a larger cost than the costs due to the zoning.

The classic types of urban zoning are on use - seperating industrial - commercial -residential - etc. And on density - floor area ratio restrictions. The former are justified because of the impacts of uses on each other - idnustrial and heavy commercial impacting negatively on residential mostly. Density is because of the impacts of high density residential on lower density areas - and the classic response is to A. Preserve existing neighborhood form in built up areas and to enable a mix of different neighborhoods in new areas.

On mix - despite a case that some kinds of residential, and some kinds of industrial mix well (the Jane Jacobs discussion of lower Manhattan, I guess) most of us are okay with seperation of industrial and residential by zoning. We have learned a great deal about the costs of over seperating commercial and residential. I would suggest its strongly the case that those uses are overly seperated in the USA today in general, in DC, and in DC's suburbs.

As for density, the maintenance of low density character in built up areas, often goes overboard - not allowing higher density in defined corridors along busier roads, ignoring existing dense buildings when looking at neighborhood charecte, etc. In the suburbs zoning of vacant land has often without logic - too little high density, and that not colocated with transit and employment.

Additionally there are zoning limits that impact placement of a house on a lot - thats the stuff that DPZ etc have critiqued.

Its quite possible to accept zoning in principle, while wanting zoning that is both freer, and more reflective of urbanist principles.

But I zoning is not the only form of supply limitation. There are process issues as well. And in many parts of the metro area inadequate transit or bike/ped provision, or streetscape/public space issues that needlessly limit the supply of WUPs (and the corrections do not necessarily have to be a massive construction of new rail facilities, which is probably not feasible) And, as many have pointed out, reducing crime and improving schools would probably make possible the building of dense WUPS at those metro stations that are not yet in the process of development - notably those EOTR and in PG county. I do not disagree with that approach, but dont think it can be the only one.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 20, 2012 9:18 am • linkreport

Does this comment violate Greater Greater Washington's comment policy? If so, you can report it using this form and an editor will take a look.

Which rules in the comment policy do you believe the comment violates?
Comment is spam.
Comment attacks other individuals personally.
Comment is name-calling or berates, belittles, or interrogates others.
Comment discourages others from posting their ideas.
Comment is getting into an aggressive argument with another.
Comment is trolling.
Comment is off topic.
Commenter is impersonating someone else or switching handles.
Comment uses profanity or abusive language.
Comment advocates violent acts or harm to another.
Comment was posted in multiple areas of the site.
Comment is arguing about the comment policy.

Enter any other information you think would be helpful to us:

Your name:
Your email:

To be sure you're not a spammer, please use the map below to answer this question:
What Metrorail station is between Anacostia and Waterfront on the Green Line?   

This map contains the answer to the challenge question.
Click to see the larger map. Feel free to ignore station subtitles.
Administrator pagespam
Support Us