Listen now (36 mins) | An interview with Matthew Maltman who created the One Final Effort website documenting the experience of upzoned cities
I am yet to read the associated paper, but speaking as a town planner who worked in a outer suburban Brisbane Council (Logan) I can say that we have over the years up-zoned the hell out of that place and for all intensive purposes it has not been the magic bullet that has delivered the benefits espoused in this talk. Yes it has allowed for development and some more intense development, but it has not resulted in a flood of housing supply, nor a reduction in housing prices. Just as one example and there are many more, we up-zoned Springwood (one of our major centres) to allow 90m mix use development as Code Assessable development in the 1990's and yet they still sit under-developed today. Zone it and they will come is much more complex than what is discussed here.
I personally don't believe in magic bullets as the reasons why things happen or not are complex and multi-discpline.
That said, if I had my magic wand, one of the radical initatives I would like to try is to introduce a No Zone approach and everthing is done by negotiation (with some caveats). Some of these caveats are:
1. A General urban zone covers all areas to be included within the metropolitian area.
2. A series of overlays that spell out the constraints / management requirements to any future development.
3. A proponent needs to come to Council with a proposal and apart from some pretty basic and essential development standards, the rest is left up to negoations between Council and proponent. However the kickers are:
a. Council does not have to approve it and it doesn't have to have to allow appeals. The guiding principle being - if it is "good" development (subjective - I know) then we will seriously consider and likely approve it. But if you are are just trying to maximise profit and yield then piss off.
b. The proponent must demonstrate the capacity to commence the development within 1 year and MUST commence by that time. No serious attempts at commencement - then it automatically lapses and again no appeals to extend its currency period.
c. Bonus points for bringing co-operative development practices (e.g consolidation of lots) and allowing intended end users to be involved in the planning, design and financing of the development at the front end of the process.
Obviously this goes against all planning law and practice to date, but I personally feel the planning system has been gamed to death and turned into a finacial commodity (rather than its orginal purpose of orderly development of towns and ciities) that has gotten us to where we are now. Something radical has to happen, otherwise we are infinately playing at the edges.
Obvious my proposal has the potential for a whole lot of corruption to flourish, so checks and balances would need to be built into any system.
I would like to better understand what qualifies as upzoning for the purposes of the experiments discussed and monitoring their effect. There are so may areas which have been the focus of uplift policies - some some broader and some more strategically targeted (eg around transit), and many examples of other associated policies creating more flexibility in detached housing and other areas, flexibility around auxilllary dwellings, car parking rates for higher density housing etc. What is the threshold that distinguishes the examples in the One Final Effort context?