Anyone read the "Practice One District Zoning" edition of Zoning Practice this month? Looking through the article, I got a flashback. A very scary flashback.
Performance zoning. Remember it? This was considered best planning practice in the 1970s and 1980s. "One district zoning" made a few good points -- that many communities have far too many zoning districts than they need, and that classifications are often far too granular. However, the recommended solution seemed to be a revival of performance zoning, only without its associated districts (wilderness, agricultural, conservation, rural, estate, development, urban core, according to my copy of Lane Kendig's classic Performance Zoning). Four of the five references in the article were to books and reports by Kendig. For those with short memories or who are new to the profession, Lane Kendig and Ian McHarg were to planning in the 1970s what Andres Duany is today.
Performance zoning in its purest form, as envisioned by Kendig, was a failure. It created a physically attractive built environment, at lest given the experiences of Fort Collins, but it was horrible for placemaking. It exacerbated the problems with American suburban development of the era; mainly dependence of motor vehicles and lack of connectivity, It was unpredictable and a nightmare to administer, which is why Fort Collins finally gave it up for traditional zoning with some form-based elements over a decade ago.
So, what was good about performance zoning? How does performance zoning influence contemporary planning practice today? I can think of a few ways, but I'd like to know what other Cyburbians think first.