Zoning For and Against Sprawl: The Case for Form-Based Codes

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Despite widespread recognition of the dual problems of sprawl and conventional zoning, the specific nature of the relationship between sprawl and zoning is not well specified. In part this is because aggregate and economic analyses of sprawl and zoning miss the larger point that zoning has a significant detrimental impact on urban pattern and form at the local scale. In addition, little systematic research has been done on the contrast between conventional zoning and coding reform efforts such as form-based codes. This paper uses a localized analysis of the relationship between zoning and sprawl to answer two main questions: how does zoning contribute to sprawl, and how do form-based codes attempt to mitigate it? The paper also includes a descriptive analysis of the current status of form-based code efforts in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-200
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Urban Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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