One of the primary purposes of zoning is to safeguard the conditions which affect three primary phases of life, namely, work, recreation, and sleep, each of which occupies about one-third of the adult's normal day. Adequate provision for work, sleep, and recreation (using this word in a sense broad enough to include rest and nourishment and not merely as a synonym for pleasure) is essential to health. The necessary conditions are not the same for all three, although for sleep and recreation they are not dissimilar. The keynote of work is efficiency; of sleep, quiet; of recreation, cheerfulness.
In infancy and old age, and with the sick of all ages, the conditions which favor sleep are especially important. During childhood and youth, when bodies are growing and minds are developing, the recreation phase controls. In middle age, the work phase predominates. To a large extent the three phases of life are controlled by the sun - the day is for work, the night for sleep, and the morning and evening for recreation; but to an increasing extent life in cities ignores the clock. Factories run continuously, night work is required in many ways, transportation never ceases. Those who work at night must sleep by day. What was once a "time" separation is fast becoming a "place" separation. To obtain normal, healthful conditions in cities, home life must be separated in place from work life, and, in order that permanency be given to this separation, a certain amount of governmental control of private property is essential. This is the basic principle which underlies building restriction by districts.
In making this place separation it is necessary to take into account various practical considerations. Many people like to live within walking distance of their work, and the daily walk, if not too long, is one of the positive factors of health. Home life requires that the grocer, the butcher, the baker, and other neighborhood conveniences be not too far away. Certain associated businesses gain in efficiency by segregation. Some kinds of manufacturing involve processes which are noisy or which give rise to odors, bearable during work, but offensive from the standpoint of home life. Cities which have been built under the doctrine of laissez /aire cannot be rebuilt in a day. These and similar facts have led to the establishment of zones of the most irregular shape, size, and position - zones not always topographically logical, but the best that can be established under the circumstances. The need of zoning is the best argument in favor of city and regional planning.
The primary object of zoning, therefore, is (1) to protect the basic phases of life against injury by providing adequate place separation of residence, business, and industry; and (2) to prevent the private monopoly of natural light and air, necessary to health, by restricting the height and bulk of buildings in ways appropriate to their neighborhood.