What is zoning in real estate?

Zoning refers to the division of vast land bank for different purposes in order to ensure multi-faceted development of a township or a city

Usually, a development authority, which is in charge of urban planning, takes cognisance of the land bank, to ensure all-round development of the area. The authority then creates zones, to divide the land on the basis of its usage and purpose. The entire process of dividing the land bank and then assigning a purpose, is called zoning.


What is zoning?

Zoning refers to the division of vast land banks for different purposes, in order to ensure multi-faceted development of a township or a city. Each zone has a specific purpose, such as residential, industrial, commercial, etc. Zoning is used by the local authorities, to control the construction and development of real estate in a specific area. To regulate the construction, zoning laws are drafted, which provide the specifications for construction and usage in that specific zone. For example, commercial activity or construction may be prohibited in a residential zone.


What is a zone / zoning?


Types of zones in real estate

There could be various types of zones, assigned by the local authority including:

  • Residential for housing
  • Commercial for offices
  • Retail for malls or high-street complexes
  • Industrial for heavy industries, factories and manufacturing units
  • Agricultural for farming
  • Public and semi-public for infrastructure development
  • Utilities and services for installing basic facilities
  • Parks and playground for green open spaces
  • Mixed land use for urbanised development

Also read: How to convert agricultural to residential?


Importance of zoning

  • Zoning ensures that lands are visibly demarcated for a particular purpose.
  • Zoning is required to stop reckless and unregulated construction of property not conducive to the specific zone.
  • Proper zone segregation ensures that land is being used for specific purposes, as prescribed and not for a different one.


Land zoning in India

Indian civic authorities use Euclidean-based zoning, which means the land use classification (i.e., residential, multi-family, or commercial) is done by geographic area. However, with land banks shrinking, zoning is done with a more integrated approach. For example, a mixed residential zone allows everything that was allowed in primarily residential zones, as well as banks, restaurants, shops, bakeries, etc. The commercial land use zone allows everything in primary residential and mixed residential zones.

Also read: What are building bye-laws?


Zoning colours

Development authorities use land maps to notify the zone and usage pattern. These colours are used on maps for graphically displaying land uses, roads, public infrastructure and community facilities.

Colour Land use
Light yellow Main/mixed residential use land
Dark yellow Mixed residential use properties. Essential services such as grocery stores and doctor’s clinics can be permitted. Around 33% commercial activity is permitted in yellow zones.
Green For maintaining greenery or agricultural land. Shades of green can be used for signifying forests, lakes, valleys, ponds, gardens or cemeteries.
Red Public and semi-public use areas for temple, educational institutes.
Light blue For commercial purposes, such as central business district, offices, etc.
Dark blue For retail purposes, such as eateries, hotels, malls, cinema halls.
Purple/violet – light shade For industrial purpose and establishment
Purple/violet – dark shade For high-tech industries
Gray For heavy industries



What are the different types of zoning in real estate?

There could be various types of zone such as residential, commercial, industrial, mixed-use, agricultural, etc.

What does zoning mean in real estate?

Zoning refers to regulations that guides how property can and cannot be used in certain geographic areas.

What is the role of zoning?

The purpose of zoning is to enable the authorities to control and regulate the use of land.


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