There's a curious news story developing in Portland, recently: a developer has proposed a tower in explicit disregard for the zoning laws and is vowing to fight for this proposal at all levels of government.
It seems a bit of a publicity stunt to draw attention to development issues, affordable housing, the permit approvals process, and urban planning ideas.
And, quite frankly, for publicity for the developers themselves (why else spend your time doing something explicitly forbidden by the rules and talking to reporters about it?).
But among the many issues the developer is drawing attention to is: difficulty understanding the whats and whys of zoning.
What are the zoning rules, and why do they exist?
Historically, only a select few could access and understand the zoning rules. Fewer still could manipulate them.
At best, that leads to unknown motives, unintended consequences, and inadvertent incentives.
At worst, it is contributing to many of the social and economic issues we face today.
UrbanForm was built to change this.
With UrbanForm's technology, you can now see the results of the zoning as easily as looking up directions on Google Maps.
For instance, the developer of this project is proposing a 300 ft tall tower, on a site where the building height is limited to just 75 feet.
Well, the image above is the results of 15 seconds on UrbanForm: a list of all the sites in Portland that allow a 300 feet tower.
Before UrbanForm, this sort of search was impossible.
We hope that this technology helps all of the stakeholders in our city figure out the best solutions. Because we are all stakeholders in our built environment.
Below is a screen capture of all the height limits in Portland visualized in 3d: all in your web browser, available instantaneously.