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Summary

Pink Zones are areas where Lean Urbanism strategies are implemented. They’re areas where red tape is lightened, where barriers are lowered, where it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to create small businesses and develop small properties. When tested and proven effective, those strategies can be applied to other parts of communities.

The Pink Zone Manual will guide you through sequential and detailed instructions to help you implement a Pink Zone in your community.

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Lean Urbanism unleashes the power of small-scale economic development by identifying barriers to small-scale development and entrepreneurship and by finding low-cost and straightforward solutions to lower those barriers. The solutions are implemented in Pink Zones to encourage and facilitate the creation of small businesses and enable revitalization in specific areas.

What Are Pink Zones?

Pink Zones are areas where Lean Urbanism strategies are implemented. They’re areas where red tape is lightened, where barriers are lowered, where it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to create small businesses and develop small properties. When tested and proven effective, those strategies can be applied to other parts of communities.

Pink Zones are typically small, carefully defined locations that contain viable mixes of homes and businesses. Their small size makes it possible to concentrate resources, focus public and private initiatives, and energize existing businesses and residents.

Why Lean Urbanism?

Lean Urbanism recognizes the value that vibrant, thriving networks of small businesses, small spaces, and small developments bring to their communities. They contribute to local markets by making them more diverse, robust, and sustainable. They help local economies by providing more jobs and keeping wealth local. They contribute to inclusivity and shared prosperity by enabling participation in community-building. And they strengthen local tax bases by contributing significantly more property and sales taxes per acre while costing much less for infrastructure and services.

Lean Urbanism also recognizes that placing the same requirements on all projects regardless of scale puts a disproportionate burden on small projects. It’s a pragmatic response to the reality that complex requirements and processes impede small businesses and projects and favor big projects by big companies and developers.


How to Use This Manual

The Pink Zone Manual will guide you through sequential and detailed instructions to help you implement a Pink Zone in your community. It consists of five sections:

  • ‹Is a Pink Zone Right for You? helps you set your goals and identify who can help you in your effort.
  • Before You Start focuses on selecting candidate Pink Zone areas, preparing talking points, informing the community, and collecting relevant data.
  • Lean Scan Assessment identifies assets, barriers, and solutions within the Pink Zone.
  • Pink Zone Workshop brings together municipal departments and other relevant parties to agree on new protocols for the Pink Zone.
  • Implementation and Evaluation describes how to make the new Pink Zone protocols operational and ensure their effectiveness.

The Pink Zone Manual emphasizes action. Each section is broken down into Steps and includes a To Do list with specific actions to take. The Manual also includes an Appendix with additional checklists, talking points, handouts, strategies, and interview guides to use while creating the Pink Zone.

Download a free pdf of the Pink Zone Manual or buy the book and ebook. Read the Manual and highlight what is relevant for your community. Use it and share it with people you intend to recruit, seek advice from, or otherwise engage.

Gianni Longo

Gianni Longo was a key contributor to the prototype Pink Zones created by the Project for Lean Urbanism. He is a highly skilled facilitator and public participation leader. A critic of public engagement that is stodgy, time-consuming, and costly, Mr. Longo designs programs that are short, efficient, and to the point. He is the author of several books. His latest, 𝘝𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘝𝘪𝘴𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯: 𝘗𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦, 𝘗𝘪𝘹𝘦𝘭𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘴, integrates traditional engagement techniques with web-based analytical and visualization tools that help the public make informed decisions. Mr. Longo is a Fellow of the Congress for the New Urbanism and a board member of CNU’s New York Chapter.

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  Publications

May 5th, 2021

Lean Comp Plan Tool

Summary

States require local governments that have zoning authority to create comprehensive plans. While most comp plans establish laudable policies, they are often poorly implemented and can stand in the way of small-scale, incremental development. This tool outlines a Lean process that planning staff can use to reduce the expense of policy development and increase the likelihood that it will be implemented. For comp plans, Lean Urbanism is not only concerned with leveling the playing field for small-scale actors, but also with directing investments toward areas of greatest impact.

February 27th, 2021

Pink Zone Manual – Making Small Possible

Summary

Pink Zones are areas where Lean Urbanism strategies are implemented. They’re areas where red tape is lightened, where barriers are lowered, where it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to create small businesses and develop small properties. When tested and proven effective, those strategies can be applied to other parts of communities.

The Pink Zone Manual will guide you through sequential and detailed instructions to help you implement a Pink Zone in your community.

November 17th, 2020

Lean Code Tool

Summary

Writing a new zoning code is time-consuming, politically fraught with landmines, and therefore unlikely to happen in most places. But with a limited number of strategic adjustments, many zoning codes can be repaired to allow Lean Urbanism and improve or create walkable, livable environments.

September 11th, 2019

House Hacking Catalog

Summary

Housing can create wealth for existing and new residents. It can also create opportunities for growing, improving, or preserving a neighborhood. House hacking is a powerful tool for Lean Urbanism. It helps overcome the barriers to entry, and accomplishes individual and community goals.

We created this House Hacking Catalog to show how it’s possible and to provide inspiration, information, and ideas to make it happen. It contains descriptions of the types of buildings, rentals, and construction that make good options for house hacking, plus issues to consider including financing and finding the right property, as well as additional resources.

October 31st, 2017

Savannah Pilot Project – Pink Zone Workshop

Summary

Savannah is hosting one of the national pilots by the Project for Lean Urbanism. The project sponsor is the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, with support from elected officials, municipal staff, nonprofits, and neighborhood leaders. In Phase 1 of the pilot, a team from the Project for Lean Urbanism visited Savannah multiple times to identify obstacles to small-scale economic development. In Phase 2, a week-long workshop was held to establish an Action Plan and Lean projects in two Pink Zones within the city. This is the final presentation from the workshop.

November 23rd, 2016

Tool Survey – Existing and Proposed

Summary

Lean Urbanism is a way to restore common sense to the processes of development, building, starting small businesses, community engagement, and acquiring the necessary skills. The Project for Lean Urbanism is collecting and developing tools and daylighting techniques to enable and encourage those activities. This collection is the result of a survey to identify tools developed elsewhere and to track ideas for those that are needed. As tools are developed by the Project for Lean Urbanism, they will be made freely available on this website.

November 4th, 2016

The Pink Zone – Where Small Is Possible

Summary

The Pink Zone is a powerful tool for concentrating resources on the task of enabling small-scale, community-centered development and revitalization. It defines an area of focus, leverages a suite of available tools, and provides a platform for the community to gather resources, make commitments, and work together on projects that enhance community character and allow existing businesses and residents to remain and profit from the improved quality of life. The Pink Zone tool will be developed and refined in a series of pilot projects, and then released to the public.

August 18th, 2015

Lessons from PHX – Embracing Lean Urbanism

Summary

The City of Phoenix has become a model of Lean Governing, demonstrating the benefits of community revitalization when a municipality enables and encourages the work of creative entrepreneurs, small developers, neighborhood leaders, and community organizations. Along the way, it has employed and refined a number of principles and techniques that other cities can use to revitalize their neighborhoods. Phoenix is demonstrating that small projects can lead to big results.

August 13th, 2015

The Lexicon of Lean Urbanism

Summary

The Lexicon of Lean Urbanism defines the “terms of art” and other useful words and phrases that have emerged from extended discussions on the online Lean Urbanism discussion group and at Lean Councils. The first section is dedicated to these terms, and the second presents a selection of helpful quotations.

July 29th, 2015

The Katrina Cottage Movement – A Case Study

Summary

Appealing, context-aware designs for small-scale homes in small-scale neighborhoods grabbed national attention during the 2005 Mississippi Renewal Forum after Hurricane Katrina. Though it took far longer for the ideas to find traction than anyone imagined, trial-and-error progress has produced models worth emulating, and just in time to address new realities in housing demand in post-recession America.