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Reason Foundation

Miami to Scrap Its Zoning Code

Leonard Gilroy
April 17, 2005, 10:13am

The City of Miami, FL is about to embark on a multi-year comprehensive planning process that will include a complete rewrite of its zoning code: This attempt to replace an outdated, complex, and convoluted zoning code with something more simple and streamlined can be seen as a step in the right direction, to the extent that it can expedite and add greater certainty to the development process and remove obstacles to development innovation and neighborhood evolution. However, the benefits from a form-based planning approach will be inversely proportional to the extent to which land use is micromanaged and specific outcomes (particularly design elements) are dictated. See here for more on this topic. For those of us that advocate market-oriented planning approaches, it is important to make a distinction between "new urbanism" and the control-minded "smart growth" movement that it typically gets confused with. Free marketers generally have no objection to new urbanist design principles per say; the objection comes when NU design is promulgated through highly prescriptive and coercive policy mechanisms. For more on this, check out this Practice of New Urbanism listserve discussion on the relationship between Libertarian and New Urbanist ideals; participants include Reason's own Sam Staley and NU guru Andres Duany, who will be leading Miami's zoning code rewrite. Also check out this piece by Reason's Chris Fiscelli, which lays the groundwork for a market-oriented new urbanism. (hat tip: Planetizen.com)

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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