Is land use zoning a barrier to future flexibility?

Richard - Team Forecast

Richard has a background in urban planning, regeneration and social housing. He previously worked in the housing sector in the UK and for the Victorian Government. He produces population forecasts for local government areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Queensland, Regional Victoria and New Zealand. He regularly presents on the policy implications and challenges of demographic change for a variety of audiences on both sides of the Tasman. Richard enjoys spending time with his kids, camping and playing the piano.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. So Richard, do you think those successful examples you mention don’t have zoning?

    • Richard says:

      Granted, the areas I cite as ‘successful’ do of course have zoning, although they most certainly did not when those areas were first developed. My point is not that zoning has no purpose, on the contrary. I think that it is highly necessary – to protect certain land uses (such as valuable recreational, industrial and agricultural areas), and provides a useful tool to developing positive outcomes for urban areas. My point is that the approach often taken, is often highly prescriptive, restricts future options and does little to encourage anything in terms of quality buildings or housing. Blanket residential codes have simply encouraged smaller lots with larger houses. Developers will maximise their opportunity within any zoning, subdividing the land to accommodate as many lots as possible depending on the market. Although more of an inner City area, I have recently undertaken an exercise for one Council in Melbourne which has prescribed very specific building heights within its activity centres, often for identified rows buildings. I guess the intended result is to curtail development, but my opinion is that it simply invites development applications maximising the building to the heights allowed, without necessarily addressing any other desirable outcome, such as building quality. So long as the design ticks the boxes as to height and use and comes within the building regulations, the planning department and the wider public when making comment during the planning stage, will have little ability to influence the project in terms of outcomes. My point is simply that, within greenfield areas, instead of blanket exclusionary zoning, with restrictive codes that segregate land use, a more discretionary system should be in place, allowing for a mixture of uses, which might encourage different sized parcels that can be adapted as the needs of a neighbourhood changes. Put simply, planning controls need to be exercised a lot more imaginatively, with an eye to the future as opposed to the present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

.id blog