This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

As we update the land use codes in an effort to make the most of our given built environment, inevitably discussions turn to the 4-pack, the Seattle townhome design that’s sprouted up all over the city over the last 10 years.

Great City has a link to the Congress of Residential Architects’ proposed solutions to the 4-pack conundrum. The report is interesting in that it separates a bunch of proposed townhouse designs into “white hat” designs that attempt to preserve the spirit of the code, and “black hat” designs that attempt to exploit it.

For my money, the last page (which I’ve excerpted as a PDF) is the one that’s really worth focusing on. It shows, step by step, how rigid land use codes lead, inexorably to the current townhouse design, and asks the fundamental design question: what trade-offs are you willing to make to change this?