Restrictive Zoning is Killing Americans – Walking

Your New Year’s resolution should probably be to walk more. Gil Penalosa and Jonathan Berk tell us why in a couple tweets:

@Penalosa_G, @berkie1

What does the common sense advice have to do with zoning? How much you walk is very dependent on where you live. If you live in a place with sidewalks, amenities, and the area is safe you will be more likely to walk. Unfortunately, tons of people in America don’t live in places that are conducive to walking. Below is graph from Fitbit in 2015. Even in the winter residents of Illinois, New York and California walk more than those in the South.

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The Destruction of Milwaukee Ave – Population – Part 1

Mark Fruin

A quick response to Andrew Schneider’s @ASchneider2008 recent thread defending the idea of down-zoning proposed by Ramirez-Rosa. For background on this plan see: Block Club Chicago. Schneider does an excellent job appealing the the emotion’s tied to home, neighborhood, and nostalgia.

Who wouldn’t want to live next to “Round-Up”? They could turn that space into a cool brewery like they did in that other neighborhood! But, the argument goes, if the property isn’t down-zoned it will be turned into ugly condos.

However, Andrew ignores one key problem, you need people, and lots of them, to support local businesses. The “Round-Up” went under as a theater, then it went under as a restaurant, then it went under as an electronics store. Clearly there is something larger going on here that is causing businesses to go under.

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Zoning and Race In Chicago

A couple quotes by Amanda Williams are important for starting to understand race and zoning in Chicago:

“Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the United States. When you grow up in a place like this, where there are invisible lines that you should not cross, places that don’t belong to you, then your whole perception of the way the world operates is the grid.”

Amanda Williams

“It’s a metastasis baked into every kernel, from planning and zoning, to multi- and single-family housing, and conversations about public and private space.”

Amanda Williams