|About the Book|
Its a deeply rooted American idea that an individual should be able to join with other persons of similar means and values to establish and maintain a preferred environment. Although not often recognized as such, zoning has major implications forMoreIts a deeply rooted American idea that an individual should be able to join with other persons of similar means and values to establish and maintain a preferred environment. Although not often recognized as such, zoning has major implications for the quality of physical environments, the distribution of income, transportation, housing, local taxation, and racial and class segregation. Zoning thus raises important issues concerning social inequalities and personal property rights.Robert Nelson contends that in effect zoning has created collective property rights, which are now held by local government. His book analyzes the development of zoning, its aims, fictions surrounding it, and its successes and failures. It examines recent environment land-use regulations, their probable outcomes, and future prospects of the regulatory system. Only by bringing together the disparate elements—the socioeconomic consequences of the changes zoning has wrought on property rights- zoning history, the role of planning- political pressures on zoning administration and law—can one understand the full complexities of the zoning problem.The author maintains that recent environmental restrictions on land use have led to an undesirable feudal trend. In detail he outlines suggestions for major surgery. He recommends that private tenure institutions resembling condominium ownership be developed to replace neighborhood zoning. Community zoning should be abolished, and decision-making should be returned to the private sector. Formal public planning organizations and government as a whole should play only a minimal role in determining specific uses of land.For allprofessionals in the field—urban economists, political scientists, planners, zoning lawyers, students of urban and environmental affairs—and even general readers who have a particular interest in the topic, Nelsons critique, with its bold advocacy of reconstruction, will provide a valuable stimulus for discussion.