Zoning and urban planning: Understanding the benefits

Author: Doing Business
Publication: Doing Business 2015
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  • Zoning—the process of planning for land use across geographic areas—can help avoid the mixing of incompatible land uses. This has both environmental and economic benefits.
  • Zoning practices vary widely around the world. Economies with an efficient and effective zoning process make zoning maps of cities accessible to builders. Others limit access to the building permit authority, which checks the zoning compliance of permit applications. Still others have no zoning system at all.
  • Among OECD high-income economies the process for obtaining a building permit, as measured by Doing Business, takes 19 fewer days on average in those where the process includes zoning procedures than in those where it does not.
  • In New Zealand all municipalities have a detailed, up-to-date zoning plan that has been approved through a process with intensive public involvement—including public hearings to allow residents to offer suggestions or objections.
  • Guatemala, a recent success story, introduced a land management plan in its capital city in January 2009. A new zoning system established zones based on the general use of land, including mixed-use zones.