Zoning for relevance

Why are American cities, suburbs, and towns so distinct? Compared to European cities, those in the United States are characterized by lower densities and greater distances; neat, geometric layouts; an abundance of green space; a greater level of social segregation reflected in space; and—perhaps most noticeably—a greater share of individual, single-family detached housing.

In Zoned in the USA, Sonia A. Hirt shows that rather than being imported from Europe, U.S. municipal zoning law was in fact an institution that quickly developed its own, distinctly American profile. A distinct spatial culture of individualism—founded on an ideal of separate, single-family residences apart from the dirt and turmoil of industrial and agricultural production—has driven much of municipal regulation, defined land-use, and, ultimately, shaped American life.

Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation, Sonia A. Hirt. Cornell University Press

The book is an inspiration for Philippine-based urban planners to study and promote that spatial distribution and zoning which is distinctly Filipino, which works for the Filipino, and which will positively hold the international community’s attention (a reversal of “the gates of hell”).

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