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Patchwork of land use, tapestry of risk

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The links between built form and environmental health are, as yet, inadequately understood. Risk is a formless and ambiguous phenomenon tightly embedded in the myriad pattern of land uses that generate it. Our research, which is founded on a contextualist notion of policy design, demonstrates the potential of innovative land use policy instruments (i.e. form-based codes, conditional use permits) to address risk. We model environmental risks from point and mobile sources in Southeast Los Angeles (SELA), a known air toxics hotspot. We compare risk contours before and after implementation of land use interventions. The use of innovative form-based codes for modifying built environments results in appreciable risk reductions around transportation corridors in SELA. Conditional use permits employing technological standards for commercial and light-industrial land uses also produce some risk reductions. This research suggests an untapped potential for land use planning instruments to address the environmental health impacts of built form.
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Keywords: New Urbanism; form-based codes; land use; risk society

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Social Ecology Research Center (SERC), SE-I, Room 218G,University of California, IrvineCA92697-7075, USA 2: Environmental Engineering Program, National Engineering Center Building, 3rd Floor,University of the Philippines, DilimanQuezon City, Philippines0112

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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