Neighborhoods are the heart of what makes Cincinnati an incredible city. Each neighborhood is different, and has developed over time into the vibrant places they are today. Hyde Park, Mt. Adams, Clifton, Over-the-Rhine, are all great neighborhoods. They are also illegal under current laws. So what happened? Why can we not build neighborhoods like this anymore? My theory… Euclidian Zoning.
The conventional city zoning code deals with uses. It tells what you can or cannot have at a certain place (example: commercial separated from residential). This separation of uses effectively prohibits a traditional neighborhood or mixed use development from occurring. What if, instead of thinking of buildings in uses, we thought of buildings in form? If we select certain elements that the form of the building has to have, then we can work towards creating traditional neighborhoods, instead of a series of random buildings surrounded by parking.
Andres Duany has championed this neo-traditional development form. He has asked us to do nothing more than create the places where we all want to live. If we like places like Over-the-Rhine, why not create a zoning code that allows new development to be built like Over-the-Rhine? This isn’t about recreating history, or making “fake” cities, it is about creating smart, pedestrian friendly, diverse, and beautiful neighborhoods.
Let’s make smart design legal again.
Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls’ is pursuing a plan to bring “Smart Codes” to Cincinnati. She believes that “a combination of traditional zoning codes and auto-oriented, suburban street design has threatened the built form and the design quality of our neighborhoods and business districts”. I for one, support her in this effort.
Learn More about SMART CODES HERE!