Too Big, Boring, or Ugly (PAS 528)

Planning and Design Tools to Combat Monotony, the Too-big House, and Teardowns

By Lane Kendig

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Cookie-cutter boxes line up like plastic houses on a Monopoly board. Brawny new construction shoulders into established neighborhoods. Monster houses crowd together in new subdivisions. Today's bigger, faster, cheaper home building methods are changing the character of communities, but there are ways to both preserve character and meet market demand.

This report offers planning and desig...

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
March 30, 2005
APA Planning Advisory Service

About the Authors

Lane Kendig
Lane Kendig is the founder of Kendig Keast Collaborative a national planning firm. Prior to that he worked in Bucks County, PA and was county planning director in Lake County, IL. He has practiced planning for over 45 years across the United States working for large and small cities, counties, and developers. He is the author of “Performance Zoning” (APA 1980) and the Island Press books “Community Character” and “Planning with Community Character” 2010. He has authored three PAS reports for APA, as well as writing numerous articles. He is an expert in comprehensive planning, land use regulations, and environmental protection. Mr. Kendig has not only written plans and codes, but reviewed thousands of site plans and designed developments ranging from small residential to super regional shopping centers.

Table of Contents

1. Defining the Problem

Mass Production • Monotony • Monopoly-Set Houses • The Too-Big House • Teardowns

2. Monotony

Two Design Approaches for Addressing Monotony • The Primary Tools for Addressing Monotony • Elements of Design That Can Be Manipulated To Prevent Monotony • Evaluating Anti-Monotony Through Criteria • Lot Layout and Design • Other Techniques Used To Avoid Monotony

3.Monopoly-Set Houses 39
Roof-Wall Junctures • Modern Siding and Windows • False Fronts

4.The Too-Big House

Bulk Regulation Standards • The Not-So-Big-House

Economics Drive Teardowns • Predicting Teardowns • Regulating Teardowns • Additional Measures

6.Code Language
Regulations Addressing the Problems of Monotony and Monopoly-Set Housing • Long Grove, Illinois, Zoning Ordinance • New Castle County, Delaware, Land Development Code • Monopoly-Set Regulations