Resource: Ordinances and a Book That Promote Human-Scale Neighborhoods
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Title: Ordinances and a Book That Promote Human-Scale Neighborhoods
Resource type: Newsletter
Topics: Buildings, Business, Communities, Land Use, Transportation
Keywords: TND, TOD, New Urbanism, urban redevelopment, policy, city planning, ordinances, chains, chain stores
Audience: All
Region: Minnesota Statewide, Outside Minnesota
Summary: 39 of the best municipal ordinances nationwide, and a timeless book, that promote the New Urbanism.
Content: The Nov.-Dec. 1998 issue of New Urban News (a 20-page periodical covering traditional town planning and development) summarized some of the best municipal ordinances nationwide that promote the New Urbanism. Most had been adopted since 1995, and a few were pending. In a 2-page table, key features of 39 ordinances are listed along with the principal writer and their phone number.

10 of the ordinances in the "infill" category foster development of small parcels within existing municipalities. 6 focus on retaining rural character in villages and towns surrounded by open space in semi-rural settings. 5 exclusively promote development surrounding transit stops. All recognize the "importance of design in creating walkable, human-scale communities [that appreciate in value]. Common elements include allowing or requiring a mixture of uses and housing types, interconnected street patterns, buildings that face public space, small setbacks, parking on interior of lots, alleys and garages and accessory apartments. Some call for architecture that follows historic precedent. Appropriate street, lot, and block dimensions, and descriptions of building types, are included in some laws."

Briefly mentioned is the "state-of-the-art" model ordinance by Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ & Company of Florida: to accommodate any kind of development, including big box stores, elderly care facilities and hotels, in addition to the typical neighborhood elements.

For a copy of this single issue of New Urban News if available, contact

The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) by Jane Jacobs is arguably the most influential book written on urban planning in the 20th century. Jacobs was among the fiercest advocates for nurturing the intricately layered ecology (physical-economic-ethical processes) of neighborhood life: mixing retail with residential, mixing income levels, mixing ethnicities and social classes. Read Jacob's forward to the 1992 edition at and read background on Jacobs at

Suggested by: Philipp Muessig
Added: 01/29/01
Updated: 07/27/11