TAG YOUR MapIT: Common Zoning Topic Categories

on February 19, 2014

Have you used MapIt yet? Now is a good time to start. We’ve given you instructions on how to use it, so you’re ready to go! 

Did you know that you can enhance your posts with MapIt tags? MapIt tags are handy categories of topics that zoning codes commonly address. The tag categories used in MapIt are Compatibility, Design, Historical Characteristics, Mobility, Recreation, Safety, and Land Uses. Tag your posts with one or more of these topics to identify the aspects of zoning related to your post. You can also filter posts created by others on MapIt using these tags to see just the posts that are relevant to you.

Here are some considerations for thinking about how to use each MapIt tag when posting or viewing content:


Look at the structures and services near each other in your neighborhood. Consider whether you think the transition between them, the streets, and the surrounding area is appropriate for that place. How does one place relate to other places near it? Is the elementary school in your neighborhood next to a cinder block factory? Is there a pig farm next to a shopping mall? What are the effects that you perceive regarding the relationship between these places?


A tall, featureless wall along a high-trafficked sidewalk. A sea of parking between the sidewalk and a building. A public plaza at the corner of a major intersection. A sculpture that serves as a meeting place for school children. What are the places with design features that enhance or detract from the character of the neighborhoods?

Historical Characteristics

Does a place in your neighborhood have historic characteristics? Are those characteristics perceptible? Do they somehow conflict with what was later built on or around that site? Maybe you see a Craftsman Bungalow style house that has been stuccoed over. Should the Zoning Code resolve that contradiction?


Can residents, visitors, and people at work get to where they need to go? Are there any barriers to movement for the people in the neighborhood? Do certain places cause a lot of congestion? Are there too few bicycle parking spaces and inadequate pedestrian access ways? Or does a certain place do a perfectly good job at accommodating pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists appropriately?

Recreation (Open Space, Active Parks)

Are there places to play, relax and exercise in your neighborhood? If there are, what do you like or dislike about these places? What enables you to use those places, or prevents you from using them? If there are no places for recreation in your neighborhood, where do you go instead?


Imagine walking in your neighborhood with a child, or alone at night. Is your neighborhood safe to walk in? Are there features that prevent it from feeling safe? Or do you think your neighborhood is safe compared to other neighborhoods? Are there enough street lights, wide enough sidewalks, protective barriers from nearby dangers, a variety of pedestrian accessways, good traffic signs and signals, protective coverings for extreme weather? Do sidewalks end abruptly in odd places? Are there any places near schools that make walking feel dangerous for children?

Land Uses

Housing, commercial shops, offices, and factories are broad categories of land uses common in some kinds of zoning codes. Sometimes uses are mixed together where, for example, a building has shops on one level and offices and apartment units on other levels. In other places, uses are separated, such as in neighborhoods with single-family homes. Think about the way you and other people use the different places in your neighborhood. Is there any kind of housing, business, or service that is missing? Is there any kind of use that you think doesn’t belong?