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Healthy Communities: Designing, Planning and ImplementinG
It is easy to overlook the individual features that constitute a community, including types and mix of land use, lot sizes, building type, size and height, setbacks, street and sidewalk widths, parking requirements, and infrastructure, all of which are controlled and regulated by land use development codes, more commonly referred to as zoning. Zoning is the primary means communities employ to control and guide land use and development decisions affecting the physical form of these places. However, zoning is a rigid, legal framework that separates uses and prescribes standards without describing or even considering what development will or should look like.
Disenchantment with conventional zoning methods combined with innovative new approaches that address current and emerging issues are now readily available to learn from and adapt. A number of these approaches focus on design and form rather than use alone. The intentions of code reform focus on the creation of better public space, pedestrian friendly streets and communities, mixing uses and reducing parking requirements, all of which can lead to increased physical activity and healthy communities.