Past is Prologue: Planning's Critical Approach to 100 Years of Zoning

Fri, Dec 9, 2016    9am

2016 marks the centennial of New York City’s 1916 Zoning Ordinance, the first comprehensive zoning law adopted in the United States. Over the last century, zoning has transformed from an instrument designed to mitigate industrial development and perpetuate racial segregation to a tool intended to shift urban travel behavior and development patterns. Today, the aims, role, and impact of zoning as a social practice in New York City -and beyond- remain contested.

The anniversary of the 1916 ordinance presents an opportunity to critically assess the current state of land regulation. Zoning shapes the daily transformation of cities, yet has attracted relatively little critical attention. This gap is especially surprising considering zoning’s considerable impact on a wide range of theoretical and practical dilemmas currently facing cities, including threats from climate change, rising inequality and spatial disparities, declining access to jobs, opportunities, and affordable housing, and unstable economic productivity. And although zoning policies have cast their goals in terms of an increasingly larger range of social issues over time, zoning practice has been largely left to experts engaged in closed-door negotiations.

The two-day conference is organized by the department of Urban Planning at Columbia University and jointly hosted by the Museum of the City of New York, who will be holding an exhibit on the same topic this fall. The conference will gather the top scholars and practitioners in the field to take stock of the field and establish a framework for a revitalized examination of zoning in US and international contexts.

Organized by the PhD students in Urban Planning at Columbia University & supported by the Dean’s office of GSAPP. Special thanks to the Museum of the City of New York for their collaboration.

100 Years of Zoning Conference, part 1 of 2
Schedule

9:00 - 10:00 am: Coffee + Breakfast

10:00 - 10:15 am: Introduction: Dean Amale Andraos

10:15 - 10:45 am: Keynote: Jerold Kayden

10:45 am - 12:00 pm: Exclusionary Zoning: ‘Technical’ Processes of Social Segregation
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Sonia Hirt, Moira O’Neill, Andrew Whittemore
Moderated by Lance Freeman

12:00 pm: Lunch

1:15 - 2:30 pm: Zoning in Situ: Enforcements and Circumventions
Sai Balakrishnan, Raphaël Fischler, Paul Lagunes, Rachel Weber
Moderated by Weiping Wu

2:30 - 2:45 pm: Coffee Break

2:45 - 4:00 pm: Inclusionary Policies: Zoning’s New Hope?
Vicki Been, Lauren Ames Fischer, Daniel Montandon, Harriet Tregoning
Moderated by Elliot Sclar

4:00-4:30 pm: Conclusion by Elliott Sclar

Panels

EXCLUSIONARY ZONING: TECHNICAL PROCESSES OF SOCIAL SEGREGATION
Drawing on recent research and examples from practice, this panel explores how zoning can serve as an engine for social, racial and economic segregation. The 1916 ordinance in New York City initially presented zoning as a purely technical endeavor used to rationalize uses across the city. As the tool gained popularity in cities across the United States, zoning and land-use restrictions kept “undesirable” populations from desirable urban areas. Public entities facilitated policies such as restrictive covenants, redlining, and zoning the single-family home to racially and socially segregate residents in urban and peri-urban neighborhoods; similar tactics and geographic distinctions persist into the present. By retracing zoning’s various geographies of exclusion in US cities, this panel considers history’s cautionary tales while also detailing the enduring impact of such policies on contemporary zoning practice.

ZONING IN SITU: ENFORCEMENTS AND CIRCUMVENTIONS
How do cities comply with or circumvent zoning regulations? Drawing on new research that highlights the uneven spaces of zoning practice, this panel examines qualitative differences between planned visions, zoning practices and urban realities. These examinations will call into question zoning’s purported role as a means to an end, as well as the ends themselves. With recent scholarship on how zoning works in practice across the United States, Mexico, and India, this panel rallies empirical understanding to question larger framings of zoning, policies and, more broadly, planning scholarship.

INCLUSIONARY POLICIES: ZONING’S NEW HOPE?
Is the current trajectory of intensifying urban inequality inevitable? Despite its history as a tool of exclusion, zoning has the potential to be a powerful mechanism for reducing social and spatial segregation in cities. Still, like other planning institutions, land regulations cast wide categories across space and time and must navigate uneven terrains of politics and money. With cases from practitioners and scholars examining the ambitious recent regulatory efforts in Brazil (ZEIS) New York City (MIH), and Washington DC (inclusionary zoning), this panel will explore the contexts, timings, and potential pitfalls of revitalizing land regulations as a force for inclusion, responsiveness, and fairness in cities.

Speakers

INTRODUCTION

Amale Andraos
Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, Columbia University

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Jerold Kayden Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

EXCLUSIONARY ZONING: TECHNICAL PROCESSES OF SOCIAL SEGREGATION

Lance Freeman
Professor of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, Columbia University

Ingrid Gould Ellen
Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, Director of the Urban Planning Program at NYU Wagner, Faculty Director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

Sonia Hirt
Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, University of Maryland

Moira O’Neill
Lecturer in the Department of in City and Regional Planning, Berkeley School of Law, Associated Research Scientist in the Law and Planning at the Institute for Urban and Regional Development, University of California Berkeley

Andrew Whittemore
Assistant Professor at the Department of City & Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

ZONING IN SITU: ENFORCEMENTS AND CIRCUMVENTIONS

Weiping Wu
Professor and Director of Urban Planning Program at the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, Columbia University

Sai Balakrishnan
Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Raphaël Fischler
Professor and Director of the School of Urban Planning, McGill

Paul Lagunes
Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Rachel Weber
Professor at the Department of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

INCLUSIONARY POLICIES: ZONING’S NEW HOPE?

Elliott Sclar
Professor of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, Columbia University, Professor of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, Director, Center for Sustainable Urban Development, The Earth Institute

Vicki Been
NYC Commissioner of Housing, Preservation and Development

Lauren Ames Fischer
Ph.D Candidate of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, Columbia University

Daniel Montandon
Director of the Department of Land Use at the Municipal Department of Urban Development, San Paolo, Brazil

Harriet Tregoning
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development