Thursday, March 18, 2010

All Those Nice Urban Places Couldn't Be Built Today

Not everyone wants to live in an urban hellhole, but I'll be happy if my blog can contribute one tiny thing to the discourse by getting a few more people to understand that most of the urban spaces - including relatively small towns! - that we think of as nice places to visit, if not to live, could not be built today given the existing regulations even in those municipalities. In existing cities the prime culprit is parking requirements, and outside of existing cities it's the whole menu of density restrictions, setbacks, etc. Having said that, I don't at all doubt that lots of people want to live in a low density single family detached housing development. I'm not trying to make it illegal to build those! But even some of those people who want to live in a single family detached housing development might want to be within spitting distance of a walkable street level retail corridor. Also generally illegal.