New Tools for Zoning and Development Visualization

Zoning Practice — March 2012

By Devin Lavigne


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Plans have almost always included figures and photos to explain recommendations and planning concepts, and now zoning ordinances, design guidelines, and other regulatory tools are starting to follow suit. Supporting illustrations, sketches, and photos integrated into these documents can show standards that the text describes, and development visualization can show what our codes strive to foster.

Technological innovations have changed how documents are prepared, printed, packaged, and distributed. In the past these documents would sit on bookshelves in the back offices of city hall or be served online through a static website as pure text, stripped of maps and graphics. As our tools, software, and the web evolve, so must our practices, codes, and ordinances.

This issue of Zoning Practice highlights the software and techniques that can provide the imagery to enhance zoning ordinances, explain zoning changes, and highlight the development potential of key sites.


Page Count
Date Published
March 1, 2012
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Devin Lavigne
Devin Lavigne is a nationally recognized innovative leader in the field of urban planning, with special expertise in urban design, physical planning, graphic communication, development visualization, and GIS. Co-founder of Houseal Lavigne Associates, a National Planning Excellence Award recipient, Devin has directed more than 150 plans, using groundbreaking techniques and approaches. With his Esri-based “” program, he was a pioneer in using maps for interactive public engagement. Devin is an adjunct lecturer at the Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses of the University of Illinois, and is co-creator of “Planning Prep”, a free resource that helps planners prepare for AICP certification.