Patchwork of land use, tapestry of risk

Raul P. Lejano, Florencio Ballesteros, Rolando Tallod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The links between built form and environmental health are, as yet, inadequately understood. Risk is a formless and ambiguous phenomenon tightly embedded in the myriad pattern of land uses that generate it. Our research, which is founded on a contextualist notion of policy design, demonstrates the potential of innovative land use policy instruments (i.e. form-based codes, conditional use permits) to address risk. We model environmental risks from point and mobile sources in Southeast Los Angeles (SELA), a known air toxics hotspot. We compare risk contours before and after implementation of land use interventions. The use of innovative form-based codes for modifying built environments results in appreciable risk reductions around transportation corridors in SELA. Conditional use permits employing technological standards for commercial and light-industrial land uses also produce some risk reductions. This research suggests an untapped potential for land use planning instruments to address the environmental health impacts of built form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • New Urbanism
  • form-based codes
  • land use
  • risk society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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