A study of 205 blocks in high-crime areas of Los Angeles suggests that increasing residential zoning in blocks that are otherwise zoned for commercial can reduce crime. The study, published in the February issue of University of Pennsylvania Law Review, finds that city blocks zoned exclusively for residential uses, as well as those zoned for residential and commercial (mixed) uses have less crime than blocks that are zoned solely for commercial use. The research shows that single-use commercially zoned blocks have expected crime rates that are about 45 percent higher than blocks with residential uses mixed in.
LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) was launched in 2009 as a private rating system, but it is being increasingly employed and promoted for use by municipalities. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School just released two free resources — the Technical Guidance Manual for Sustainable Neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Development Floating Zone — to help local governments use LEED-ND. The manual draws from research and interviews with more than 60 municipalities that have already leveraged LEED-ND to reform their comprehensive plans, land use regulations, and infrastructure planning to achieve sustainability goals. Augmenting the manual, the Neighborhood Development Floating Zone is a model ordinance that employs the LEED-ND rating system. The project was sponsored by the Fund for the Environment and Urban Life of the Oram Foundation, with additional support from the Natural Resources Defense Council.