Value Capture and Community Benefits

Zoning Practice — June 2015

By Nico Calavita


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As planners seek to promote higher-density compact development in a climate of declining public revenues, it is imperative for them to help cities and counties capture a portion of the increases in land and development value resulting from granting additional development rights to provide public amenities. Perhaps the most common approach to this form of value capture is incentive zoning (IZ), which describes zoning provisions that encourage developers, usually through additional densities, to provide community benefits or amenities.

Studies that have compared the benefits and costs of IZ have often found that developers benefited disproportionally. Now a new wave of IZ is emerging, characterized by three elements: 1) reliance on economic analysis; 2) particular attention paid to the effects of value capture on land values; and 3) utilization of extensive public participation processes.

This issue of Zoning Practice highlights a number of promising approaches for capturing value created from land-use and other regulatory changes. Specifically, it focuses on the new ways in which incentive zoning is being shaped and implemented in California.


Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2015
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Nico Calavita