Zoning Cities: Toward a Simpler Future

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You'll learn about:

  • Shortcomings of existing zoning tools in addressing complex urban and largely built-out environments

  • Cutting-edge zoning practices in the United States and internationally

  • Tools that can test and simulate outcomes of new zoning codes with a particular emphasis on changing zoning regulations in largely built-out contexts

Zoning codes today address increasingly complex urban environments and built-out neighborhoods. All too often, existing toolsets are built around suburban and auto-oriented contexts. In an effort to address the challenges of urban environments, new tools are invented and added on. This has led to convoluted codes that are hard to follow, easy to challenge, and (more often than not) only provide marginal results.

During this session, an interdisciplinary and international panel of architects and code writers, as well as a digital city modeler, make the case for a simpler approach to zoning. They ask if we’re using the right tools to most effectively regulate building cities, and pose the all-important question: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Joining real-world experience and extensive computer-modeling and simulation expertise, they argue that to be more effective, zoning may need to regulate less and regulate things that haven’t before been regulated.

View case studies from across the country and discuss theoretical studies that get to the heart of how our cities are shaped. Then debate alternative, simpler, and possibly more effective approaches to implementing planning in zoning codes.

About the Speakers

Lee Einsweiler
Lee has been involved in planning, zoning and plan implementation in a variety of settings over the past 30 years. His emphasis has been on redevelopment activity in urban areas, beginning in south Florida in the 80’s, and continuing with his recent work in Los Angeles, Denver and Fort Worth. Lee sharpened his skills in the preparation of zoning regulations across the country, and has been personally responsible for over 50 code projects, including the complete revision and adoption of over 30 codes and the preparation of almost 20 form-based codes. His combination of conventional zoning know-how and new code approaches are rare in the profession and his ability to facilitate the consideration and adoption of new zoning serves his clients well. Lee has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Community & Regional Planning at the University of Texas, teaching smart growth tools at the graduate level. He is a former board member of the Central Texas chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). Lee is a frequent conference speaker on zoning, including a recent two-week speaking tour in Australia and form-based codes and the charrette process.

Martin Leitner
Martin Leitner is an architect with a track-record of re-imagining auto-oriented development, facilitating community-based design, and designing human-scale neighbor¬hoods with a sense of place and history. Working at the intersection of architecture and the city, he has taken a leadership role in innovating approaches to shaping urban development for both public and private clients. In his work, Martin emphasizes the role of design in shaping our physical environments, a viewpoint he has brought to numerous planning and specifically zoning projects. Martin has been involved in high-profile project that including the ongoing comprehensive update of Los Angeles’ zoning code (re:code LA) and the development urban design guidelines for Los Angeles’ iconic Hollywood Boulevard District. Martin also led the development of Westminster, Colorado’s first specific plan, a document that will guide the transformation of a suburban mall into a walkable downtown. Martin Leitner is a senior associate at Torti Gallas and Partners. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects where he chairs the Urban Design Committee of the Los Angeles Chapter

Dr. Pascal Mueller
Pascal Mueller is the Director of the ESRI R&D Center Zurich, where novel tools for urban design are developed. Its predecessor, the start-up company Procedural, was co-founded by Pascal in 2007 and successfully sold to ESRI in 2011. Previously, in his PhD at ETH Zurich, he pioneered novel methods for the procedural generation of cities and buildings which are now the core of ESRI's urban planning software CityEngine and part of the 3D GIS solution ArcGIS Pro. Pascal has published more than 50 scientific papers including SIGGRAPH and has held numerous invited talks at conferences, universities and companies all over the world. His body of artistic work includes short movies, over 50 live visuals performances, and interactive museum installations including Ars Electronica.

Atul Sharma
Atul is an urban planner at the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. As an urban designer, Atul has extensive experience in integrated community planning, transit oriented development, large scale sustainable master planning, mixed-use communities, neighborhood design, design guidelines and contextual architecture. During his career, Atul has worked in the United States and internationally on both architecture and urban design projects with some of the top leaders in planning, architecture and real estate development. Atul loves creating places that are sustainable and contextual and elevate the experience of everyday life for all members of the community. Atul also has a keen interest in improving the practice of design through research and exploring emerging technological trends.