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Conclusion
While the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to the poor state of many cities’ economic and political infrastructures, these issues existed long before the pandemic. As the cost of living continues to rise and wages continue to stagnate, cities face the choice of choosing to either abide by dated zoning laws and neglect of public transit, or engaging with community stakeholders to address both long-standing planning inequities and poor business support schemes (Source 23).
New zoning laws allow local governments to prioritize the well-being of both existing and new residents, by increasing both the quality and variety of housing stock for a variety of living situations. Alongside these new residential plans, more modernized commercial zoning plans like San Rafael’s Downtown Precise Plan allow high-growth companies access to affordable space to not just incubate, but scale over 10+ years without needing to move to urban cores like San Francisco to either get space they need or attract talented labor.
More modernized zoning plans not only allow for the more flexible creation of office spaces, but also allows for the expansion of the city’s labor force through the provision of available housing for incoming, high-skilled workers. Though few planning policies have the chance of receiving support from all stakeholder groups in a city, new zoning plans hold the possibility of improving nearly every part of a city’s operations for all residents, and could benefit all stakeholders involved.
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