Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: zoning from The Macquarie Dictionary
1.

(of land) the marking out of an area of land with respect to its use.

Plural: zonings

Etymology: zon(e) + -ing1


Summary Article: zoning
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

legislative regulations by which a municipal government seeks to control the use of buildings and land within the municipality. It has become, in the United States, a widespread method of controlling urban and suburban construction and removing congestion and other defects of existing plans. Great Britain, Germany, and Sweden preceded the United States in zoning for the purpose of controlling building in new areas adjoining cities, but now use comprehensive plans. The zoning resolution adopted by New York City in 1916 was the first in the United States and has profoundly affected New York architecture, while the standard it set has been followed by other cities. By this law (since superseded) New York City was divided into use districts, area districts, and height districts. Use districts are of four classes: residential, business, retail, and unrestricted. The height and area limitations serve to insure light and air for the occupants of city buildings. Municipal zoning was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1926; its decision, which concerned the ordinance adopted by Euclid, Ohio, established zoning as a legitimate use of a municipality's police power to protect the public welfare. In the United States the state legislatures hold the power to authorize zoning, under which the separate municipalities enact their own zoning ordinances, which are typically closely integrated with a city planning program. Zoning has been used to maintain the suburban, and class character of a municipality, however, and as such has been called exclusionary zoning; it has produced racial and economic segregation. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against such zoning in directing that public housing in Chicago be spread beyond the city limits. Some state courts have gone further, declaring that developing communities have an obligation to accommodate their fair share of a region's needs for modest homes and apartments.

  • See Makielski, S. J. Jr., The Politics of Zoning: The New York Experience (1966);.
  • Williams, N. , The Structure of Urban Zoning, and Its Dynamics in Urban Planning and Development (1966);.
  • Toll, S. I. , Zoned America (1969);.
  • Andrews, R. B. , ed., Urban Land Use Policy: The Central City (1972);.
  • R. E. Babcock; C. L. Sieman, The Zoning Game Revisited (1985);.
  • King, A. J. , Law and Land Use in Chicago (1986).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles


Full text Article Zoning
Encyclopedia of Geography

Initially introduced in New York in 1916 and quickly spreading to nearly all large American urban areas, zoning is a practice of municipal or...

Full text Article Zoning
Encyclopedia of Urban America: The Cities and Suburbs

Beginning with New York in 1916, 48 of the 68 largest cities in the United States adopted “comprehensive building zone laws” that put zoning into...

Full text Article Central Business District
Encyclopedia of Geography

The central business district (CBD) is the core area of a city, where specialized business services are concentrated. The CBD is essentially an...

See more from Credo