/zoh"ning/, adj.
(esp. in city planning) of or pertaining to the division of an area into zones, as to restrict the number and types of buildings and their uses: zoning laws.
[1810-20; ZONE + -ING2]

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Legislative method of controlling land use by regulating considerations such as the type of buildings that may be erected and population density.

German and Swedish cities first applied zoning regulations in the late 19th century to address the problems of urban congestion and building height. The earliest U.S. zoning ordinances, which date from the beginning of the 20th century, were motivated by the need to regulate the location of commercial and industrial activities. In 1916 New York City adopted the first comprehensive zoning law; it and other early regulations were designed to protect property values and preserve light and air. Modern zoning regulations divide land use into three types: residential, commercial, and industrial. Within each designation, more specific aspects of development (e.g., building proximity, height, and type) are also determined. Zoning is often used to maintain the distinctive character of a town or city; an adverse consequence of such zoning is economic segregation. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled against such laws in 1977 when it declared the zoning regulations of one Chicago suburb discriminatory.

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▪ land use
      the legislative method of controlling land use by regulating such considerations as the type of buildings (e.g., commercial or residential) that may be erected and the population density. Applied primarily to urban areas, it is accomplished by dividing land area into zoning districts, each having specific conditions under which land and buildings may be legally developed and used. In combination with other city-planning techniques, zoning is a major instrument for gaining greater physical order in cities.

      The earliest form of zoning was inspired by architectural and urban-design controls introduced in European cities toward the end of the 19th century. In accordance with long-established municipal powers, German and Swedish cities applied zoning regulations about 1875 to new land being urbanized around the older city cores as a way of controlling the heights and concentrations of buildings and avoiding problems of congestion. Much of the orderliness of German and Swedish cities and the consistent quality of building line and height is due to the early establishment of detailed zoning regulations and their widespread application at the time of major building activity growing out of the Industrial Revolution.

      Zoning in the United States, in contrast, has been more concerned with the social and economic function for which land is used rather than with architectural and site-planning criteria. The earliest U.S. zoning ordinances—around the turn of the 20th century—were motivated by the need for regulating the location of commercial and industrial activities.

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Universalium. 2010.

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