Negotiated developments : exploring the trends, efficacy, and politics of negotiating zoning on a project-by-project basis
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
MetadataShow full item record
Large-scale real estate developments present unique regulatory challenges for local governments, prompting them to employ non-traditional, negotiation-based zoning approaches that offer flexibility unattainable via conventional zoning. Existing planning literature falls short of answering at least three broad areas of inquiry that can help local governments navigate this challenge. First, there is a general lack of understanding of if, when, and how local governments use negotiation-based zoning. Second, little empirical research thus has examined the negotiated outputs. Last, the politics of negotiated developments-who participates and influences these negotiations and under what conditions-also remains largely unknown. Each of these research areas is taken up in the three papers that comprise this dissertation.The first paper surveys the current state of zoning practices; I investigate the experiences of Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle to explore if, when, and how they have negotiated zoning on a project-by-project basis. The second paper identifies the gains and losses of using a negotiation-based approach vis-a-vis zoning that closely adheres to the rule of law. I compare the experience of Boston and Seattle in more detail to explore this subject. The third and final paper delves deep into the micro-politics of negotiations for the largest private development in Boston to expose who actually influenced the negotiations and whether public participation mattered in the process. I find that all five cities employed negotiation-based zoning approach for large-scale developments, but their attitude towards negotiation varied widely city-by-city and even within a city.I further establish that cities are likely to obtain more substantial public benefit packages when they negotiate zoning, but that there may be profound structural consequences for pursuing a regulatory regime heavily based on negotiations. Moreover, I provide empirical evidence that the process of negotiation can in fact accommodate meaningful public participation. Negotiated developments can become valuable opportunities for local governments to implement important planning objectives when they are used selectively and when the negotiation process is administered in a transparent and communicative manner.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 180-188).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.