Great question! I am not sure that current zoning laws are achaic as much as they promote a lifestyle that is necessarily resource intensive. It was only a few short generations ago in the United States that people lived, worked and played all within a short proximity of eachother. This means that not much energy was required to fulfill daily needs. Part of environmental sustainablity is creating closed-loop systems, where nutrients and energy do not leave the system but just change form. Having agricultural systemsm and small-scale industrial systems integrated with family dwellings and work spaces better enables each piece of the system to turn another piece’s outputs or waste into useful inputs. While it is important from an environmental health and strategic land use standpoint to plan out how the land is going to be used within a community, neighborhood, town or city, for the most part, current zoning laws promote a separation between where people live and where they work and the processes and resources that they need to survive. If zoning laws allowed for more well-planned mixed development, there would be a plethora of benefits from a social, health and environmental perspective.
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