The myth of “no zoning” in Houston
I found this Michael Lewyn paper very interesting. Here is his bottom line:
In fact, Houston regulates land use almost as intricately as cities with zoning by mandating suburban-style low densities, ordering businesses to hide their stores behind an asphalt ocean of parking, encouraging segregation of land uses, and forcing pedestrians to cross wide streets and to trudge through long, intersection-free blocks to go from one place to another. These policies have helped to make Houston as sprawling and automobile-dependent as other American cities (if not more so). By reversing such policies, Houston and other municipalities with similar policies can create an America that is both more deregulated and less sprawling.
It's a good paper.