Euclidean zoning

When I first stumbled upon this blog post, the catchy title made me think of geometry and some cool application it might have to town planning. Instead, it turns out that “Euclidean” actually refers to the fact that the technique, presented in the blog post, originates from Euclid, Ohio. In any case, I was sufficiently piqued to keep reading.

To my surprise, town planning in Ohio and the many US states that borrowed Euclid’s zoning methodology is influenced in a not-so-minor way by racism. There are minimum sizes for house footprints within lots as well as maximum ones: a law driven by the wish to keep properties expensive enough not to become affordable by predominantly poorer ethnic minorities. Another law against multiple family occupation in single lots has the similar motivation.

This type of zoning was born in the 60s. It keeps bureaucrats in jobs measuring to the inch the dimensions of lots and house footprints, and it keeps undesirables away from the daughters of white men. I wonder how much this town planning has contributed to burgeoning property prices witnessed in parts of the US today. Such low population density in land near big cities forces new developments further outside, and increases prices near the middle where the highest paid workers can afford to reside.

Anyway, it’s an interesting, albeit random topic to investigate. Read it here.