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Unpublished Paper
Millennial Pivot: Sustainability-Purposed Performance Zoning Guidelines in Urban Commercial Development
ExpressO (2015)
  • Michael N Widener, Arizona Summit Law School
This paper argues that economic competitiveness requires cities and towns to reimagine their zoning regulations, leveraging technology advances to address challenges revealed by demands for sustainability in building urban projects. The optimal means to accomplish this is to use performance zoning, a method encouraging creative solutions to problems caused by increasing development densities. Performance zoning consists of a series of standards addressing specific sub-optimal neighborhood or community impacts of commercial development; these standards can be negative or positive expressions of municipal goals for sustainability and environmental justice. Pivoting to performance zoning is desirable because the development community has a firmer grasp on how to mitigate negative externalities than does the typical bureaucracy. I assert that community competitiveness, by enticing Millennials to join sustainability – focused enterprises and occupy sustainable buildings, is advanced by adopting performance zoning conventions. The paper initially reviews fundamentals of community competitiveness; then describes the Millennial generation’s support for sustainability benchmarking; next describes illustrative technology innovations introducing a new era of built-environment sustainability performance; and finally addresses why performance zoning protocols optimally advance community sustainability while growing competitiveness through increased livability.
  • land use regulation,
  • zoning,
  • land use planning,
  • performance zoning,
  • sustainability,
  • sustainability benchmarking,
  • real estate development,
  • local government law
Publication Date
August 3, 2015
Citation Information
Michael N Widener. "Millennial Pivot: Sustainability-Purposed Performance Zoning Guidelines in Urban Commercial Development" ExpressO (2015)
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