Our Director Luc Wilson traveled to Delft to present our paper on exploring potential frameworks for performance based zoning.
Exponential growth is pressuring cities around the world to reevaluate their management of new development. Challenges stemming from such growth, including crises in affordable housing and transit accessibility, see cities responding by constructing ever greater densities, a process limited by current zoning regulations. Traditional zoning frameworks are rigid and slow to adapt, making it difficult for development to keep pace with greater density requirements. By establishing certain baseline urban metrics tied to a set of performance standards, performance-based zoning allows cities to proactively accommodate growth and demand while mitigating potential negative externalities. One of the primary challenges for a truly performance-based zoning methodology is defining and calibrating desired performance standards. Cities must consider criteria associated with, for example, comfort, mobility, and activity in such a way that defines achievable, goal-oriented benchmarks– a difficult task given the complexity of urban systems. In proposing a process for creating a performance-based zoning framework, this paper: 1) explores urban analysis methods, focusing on urban comfort, mobility, and activity, to create new urban performance datasets for Manhattan for use in establishing new zoning protocols, and 2) develops new visualization techniques that can more effectively engage stakeholders, make data understandable and accessible for decisionmakers, and broaden the discussion to involve a wider range of non-specialist participants.