Zoning is the term for designating the permitted uses of specific parcels of land by local governments. Typically, zoning is used by local governments to limit the types of activities that can take place within the boundaries of a particular parcel.

Zoning Laws exist to separate two types of properties: residential and industrial. Zoning Laws exist to keep large, smoke-producing factories from congesting residential neighborhoods.

Generally, urban areas are split into several zoning categories. These include: residential (houses), mixed residential-commercial (apartment buildings, town homes, condominiums), commercial (offices, retail, and restaurants), industrial (factories and warehouses), and unique (airports, sports complexes, museums, power generators, hospitals, and prisons).

Of course, zoning is not without criticism. Many people feel that zoning laws create significant land-use limitations, effectively preventing potential homeowners from building the property they want and need.
Zoning also puts a cap on building density, so large communities cannot form, fulfilling a kind of social engineering experiment on the close-minded. By preventing any potential group from settling in a given area, zoning effectively limits the ability of lower-income groups to move somewhere where they can improve their lot.