Land Use & Planning

Land use policy necessarily touches on every aspect of local government concern. Sustainable land use planning involves decisions on crosscutting and multi-layered issues that affect air quality, water quality, access to transportation options, economic vitality, and quality of life.  It is critical to promote the creation and development of communities containing an array of types and uses of buildings and spaces to meet the diverse needs of residents' daily lives.

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LAND USE OVERVIEW

Traditional Approaches provides a brief overview of the primary types of municipal zones that are used to guide community development, specifically:

  1. Residential Zones

  2. Commercial Zones

  3. Civic Zones

  4. Industrial Zones

  5. Open Space Zones

  6. Agricultural Land Zones

Environmental Challenges associated with municipal Land Use include:

  1. Air Pollution

  2. Water Pollution

  3. Land Consumption

  4. Transportation Choices

  5. Limited Connectivity

  6. Mixed-Use Development

Sustainability Principles associated with Land Use include:

  1. Open Space

  2. Sustainable Water Sources

  3. Walkability and Connectivity

  4. Integration of Diverse Community Features

  5. Strong Sense of Place

Sustainable Strategies introduce three key approaches to the development of environmentally sustainable communities:

  1. Sustainable Urbanism

  2. Integrating Land Use & Transportation Decision-making

  3. Regional Planning Approach

LOCAL

According to the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), urbanized land in the United States increased by 13 million acres (26 percent) between 1982-1992, and by 19 million acres (33 percent) between 1992-2001. As cities grew, dependence on motorized vehicles increased, as did air pollution, traffic congestion, longer commute times and lack of access to goods and services. An average suburban family consumes more energy on transportation than in their homes (Figure 2). 

Behavior is beginning to shift. More and more people are moving back into city cores that offer pedestrian-friendly environments and a range of transportation options. As cities reemerge as live-work-play centers, it is imperative that we integrate sustainability principles that promote complete neighborhoods for all citizens. When this is achieved, current and future generations have much to gain economically, socially and environmentally.

GLOBAL

Land use was once considered a local environmental issue, but it is now recognized as a force of global importance. In the course of providing food, water and shelter for more than six billion people worldwide, we inflicted significant damage to the planet's forests, farmlands, waterways and air (Figure 1). According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International's Director-General James Leape, the earth's regenerative capacity can no longer keep up with demand - people are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources. Our challenge today is to manage trade-offs between immediate human needs and the long-term ability of the planet to provide for future generations.

Featured Resources

Model RFP: Flagstaff, Arizona

Model RFP: Flagstaff, Arizona

The City of Flagstaff second phase of proposals for a mixed-use Traditional Neighborhood Development of approximately 27 acres along John Wesley Powell Boulevard in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Sustainable Connections: Strategies to Support Local Economies

Sustainable Connections: Strategies to Support Local Economies

This guide presents five components often associated with sustainability - green space, community design, complete streets, food access and green buildings - that also benefit the local economy and in so doing, may enhance regional resiliency and the ability of cities to compete in the global marketplace.

Housing + Transportation Affordability: Washington DC

Housing + Transportation Affordability: Washington DC

"Housing and Transportation Affordability" is a report prepared by the Center for Neighborhood Technology demonstrating the links between housing and transportation costs.

Partnerships for Brownfield Redevelopment: Dr. Nina Scarito Park

Partnerships for Brownfield Redevelopment: Dr. Nina Scarito Park

The following case study was presented at the National League of Cities' Congress of Cities & Exposition held in Boston, Mass. in 2012. It demonstrates the value and opportunities of broad-based community partnerships to advance sustainability goals in a city.

Smart Growth & Economic Success: Benefits for Real Estate Developers, Investors, Business & Local Governments

Smart Growth & Economic Success: Benefits for Real Estate Developers, Investors, Business & Local Governments

Smart growth development is compact and walkable and provides a diverse range of choices in land uses, building types, transportation, homes, workplace locations, and stores.

LAND USE OVERVIEW

Traditional Approaches provides a brief overview of the primary types of municipal zones that are used to guide community development, specifically:

  1. Residential Zones

  2. Commercial Zones

  3. Civic Zones

  4. Industrial Zones

  5. Open Space Zones

  6. Agricultural Land Zones

Environmental Challenges associated with municipal Land Use include:

  1. Air Pollution

  2. Water Pollution

  3. Land Consumption

  4. Transportation Choices

  5. Limited Connectivity

  6. Mixed-Use Development

Sustainability Principles associated with Land Use include:

  1. Open Space

  2. Sustainable Water Sources

  3. Walkability and Connectivity

  4. Integration of Diverse Community Features

  5. Strong Sense of Place

Sustainable Strategies introduce three key approaches to the development of environmentally sustainable communities:

  1. Sustainable Urbanism

  2. Integrating Land Use & Transportation Decision-making

  3. Regional Planning Approach

LOCAL

According to the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), urbanized land in the United States increased by 13 million acres (26 percent) between 1982-1992, and by 19 million acres (33 percent) between 1992-2001. As cities grew, dependence on motorized vehicles increased, as did air pollution, traffic congestion, longer commute times and lack of access to goods and services. An average suburban family consumes more energy on transportation than in their homes (Figure 2). 

Behavior is beginning to shift. More and more people are moving back into city cores that offer pedestrian-friendly environments and a range of transportation options. As cities reemerge as live-work-play centers, it is imperative that we integrate sustainability principles that promote complete neighborhoods for all citizens. When this is achieved, current and future generations have much to gain economically, socially and environmentally.

GLOBAL

Land use was once considered a local environmental issue, but it is now recognized as a force of global importance. In the course of providing food, water and shelter for more than six billion people worldwide, we inflicted significant damage to the planet's forests, farmlands, waterways and air (Figure 1). According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International's Director-General James Leape, the earth's regenerative capacity can no longer keep up with demand - people are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources. Our challenge today is to manage trade-offs between immediate human needs and the long-term ability of the planet to provide for future generations.