Zoning for a Post-COVID World

Zoning Practice — October 2020

By Donald Elliott, FAICP


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The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically disrupted American life in ways that would have seemed unthinkable in 2019, and its impacts will remain with us for a long time. As city and county governments scramble to protect their citizens and to adjust services and budgets based on plummeting revenues, many planners wonder how zoning should change to better serve a post-COVID world.

This edition of Zoning Practice highlights short-term zoning adjustments that can minimize economic damage and promote economic recovery from the pandemic, and it analyzes how COVID-19 may reinforce or disrupt long-term zoning trends related to housing diversity, flexible use permissions, built form, and the public realm.


Page Count
Date Published
Oct. 1, 2020
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Donald Elliott, FAICP
Donald L. Elliott, FAICP, is a Director with Clarion Associates, LLC, a national land use consulting firm. Don has assisted over 40 U.S. communities to update plans and regulations related to housing, zoning, and land development. He is the author of A Better Way to Zone (Island Press 2008) and co-author of The Rules that Shape Urban Form (APA 2012). Don has a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy Analysis from Yale University, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.