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Tactical Urbanism V2: Dynamic Land Use Regulation and Partnership Tools Regenerating First Suburbs


Land use regulation is typically viewed as passive; projects proceed when criteria established under ordinances are satisfied, but are delayed or scuttled when parameters of codes are unmet. Insufficient attention is directed by local governments to the economic ramifications of those events. How should land use regulators perform when their communities are economically deprived—or their employment opportunities have been compromised? The current employment and productivity perils of inner-ring suburbs, those often-dismissed earliest “outskirts” of metropolitan areas, begs the question whether expanding economic opportunities for community citizens should dominate conversations among zoning administrators and their municipal constituents. Too many first suburbs are in decline, their citizens dismayed or angered about their futures. This Article describes how their local land use administrations, partnering with developers and citizens, must refocus on revitalizing inner-ring neighborhoods physically to grow job opportunities, by deploying familiar and novel land use governing and related collaborative strategies. The Article addresses how those controlling planning regimes can catalyze job creation in partnership with the private sector without sacrificing land use’s primary goal to maintain communities as livable and peaceful places. Decision-makers in land use can enhance development quality by adopting and enforcing dynamic development conventions toward a new future for “tactical urbanism.”