Today is the 100th anniversary of New York City's comprehensive zoning ordinance. Generally viewed as the first city-wide comprehensive zoning ordinance in the US, this was a real watershed moment for urban growth and land use controls. Appropriately, the NY Times provides some context and reflection in a Building Blocks column by David Dunlap.
It is probably true that the nation's embrace of zoning was inevitable, so if NYC hadn't jumped in first, someone else would have. But the symbolism of NYC's early adoption and continued rapid growth undercut many ridiculous arguments about how government control would set cities back or make them less competitive. As Dunlap reminds us, NYC also created a phenomenal zoning document that helped show other cities how to structure zoning as a defensible and logical system.