How Zoning and Planning Departments are Restricting Architects


Most people would agree that some degree of rules and regulations are necessary to maintain order in a society. However, sometimes we find ourselves bumping up against a rule that wasn’t intended to cause us frustration or written with us in mind, but it’s affecting us nonetheless. That’s the situation that architect Bob Borson currently finds himself.

“The various planning and zoning departments typically have some type of regulation that tells you what you can do and where you can do it,” says Borson. “But more and more what we’re seeing is that these planning and zoning departments are putting in prescriptive aesthetic regulations in place that tell me what my product can look like if I put it in their city.”

As an architect who focuses primarily on residential design with a modern flair, these regulations can often hamper the vision that Borson initially creates.

The issue these cities have isn’t necessarily with architects like Borson, but with developers who are building a large number of houses to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Standards and regulations have been put in place to protect consumers from shoddy workmanship and faulty materials.

Unfortunately, these broadly written rules often leave specialists like Borson as collateral damage. To hear more of his thoughts on one of the biggest topics of conversation in architecture, listen to the full interview above.

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