From the list on why zoning isn’t as boring as you think.
Who am I?
When I studied urban economics at Princeton in the 1970s, theoretical models of urban form were all the rage. Political barriers to urban development such as zoning were dismissed as irrelevant. But as I read more about it, zoning appeared to be the foremost concern of both developers and community members. My service on the Hanover, New Hampshire zoning board made me appreciate why homeowners are so concerned about what happens in their neighborhood. NIMBYs—neighbors who cry “not in my backyard”—are not evil people; they are worried “homevoters” (owners who vote to protect their homes) who cannot diversify their oversized investment. Zoning reforms won’t succeed without addressing their anxieties.
William's book list on why zoning isn’t as boring as you think
Why did William love this book?
Hirt’s title might make you think it is just about the United States, but her well-written book is one of the rare instances of an insightful comparison of zoning policies in the other high-income nations of the world. Zoning actually started in Germany in the late nineteenth century and was imported to the US at the beginning of the twentieth. It was seriously modified on our shores. Rather than orchestrating the orderly development of mixed-use neighborhoods, Americans isolated the single-family, owner-occupied house on a zoning pedestal that it rarely enjoys in other countries.