Services: Regulatory Design

Performance-based Planning and Regulatory Design is about "satisficing" (e.g. many acceptable and equivalent "best" answers) rather than "optimizing" (e.g. one "best" answer). This is a non-prescriptive approach to planning and development that, unlike traditional regulatory practice, allows for and encourages creative solutions to complex problems. It articulates an approach to planning and development that recognizes the contingent nature of urban development and offers a method for contextualizing incremental decisions, while recognizing that these decisions cumulatively give form to the city.

The concept of the Performance-based planning assumes that some goals and objectives will be more important than others and that over time their value and importance may change. There would be no single path to achieving a preferred level of performance, but rather permutations and combinations of different paths that result in the same or equivalent level of performance. A performance-based approach to regulatory design therefore establishes a level of performance with the minimal amount of prescriptive design, thereby permitting "The good you can't think of."

Featured Projects

  • In December 2009, the City of Glen Cove amended its Municipal Code/Zoning Regulations to require the use of verifiable visual simulations (e.g., verifiable photomontages to photorealistic immersive 3D models of proposed actions) in its land-use review and public decision-making process.

  • Under a grant from the Transportation and Community and System Preservation (TCSP) the City of Houston engaged the ESC to develop a land development model and performance tracking system to monitor growth along the City's Main Street Corridor.

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