Zoning and land use: A tale of incompatibility and environmental injustice in early phoenix

Abigail York, Joseph Tuccillo, Christopher Boone, Robert Bolin, Lauren Gentile, Briar Schoon, Kevin Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Little attention has been paid to the role of early land use institutions in development patterns, the creation of disamenity zones of environmental injustice, and the promotion of space-consuming suburban development. This study uses historic Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and spatial analytic techniques to expose zoning's tendency to spread disamenities and disperse incompatible land uses in early Phoenix. While on paper Euclidean zoning's stratification of land uses in Phoenix promotes progressive ideals for reduction of blight and improvement of city health, analysis at a finer scale using Sanborn maps reveals that zoning decisions in Phoenix tended to promote the expansion of fragmented land uses, especially disamenity zones that targeted poor minority neighborhoods. Zoning encouraged the expansion of industry while attracting residents to newly developed suburbs with guaranteed protection from blight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-853
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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