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National Zoning Atlas Launched to Make America's Patchwork of Codes Accessible and Comprehensible

Professor of City and Regional Planning Sara Bronin’s zoning atlas initiative is a first-of-its-kind effort to translate and standardize zoning codes across the U.S. into a single, accessible online resource.

Zoning laws, adopted by thousands of local governments across the country, dictate much of what can be built in the United States. Zoning codes have major ramifications for businesses, housing, and quality of life but can be very difficult for non-experts to understand.

To address this information gap, the Legal Constructs Lab, directed by CRP Professor Sara Bronin, has launched a National Zoning Atlas that enables people to better understand zoning codes and their regulatory constraints.

“We envision the National Zoning Atlas as the Rosetta Stone of zoning: translating complex, technical, bureaucratic jargon into easy-to-understand maps and graphics,” said Bronin, who is also on the faculty of the Cornell Law School and brings her property law expertise to the project.  “Once we get a critical mass of jurisdictions incorporated into the National Zoning Atlas, we’ll be able to unlock tremendous, unprecedented secondary research in housing, education, transportation, environmental policy, climate response, economic development, and much more.”

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