The Postal Service Goes Urbanist: How New Mailbox Regulations Encourage Density

The postal service, in many ways, has been a quintessential example of stodgy government, slow to react to the changing needs of citizens. Its budget is imbalanced, and its primary service—letter mail—is less necessary each year. Millennials and other young Americans don’t value the service as much as older Americans, and their tastes will dictate the direction USPS takes moving forward. Thankfully, in one important way, USPS is ahead of the game.

The postal service has a small but important role in all new development in the United States. Before a developer finalizes plans and property lines with zoning authorities, they must notify USPS so that the federal agency can plan to serve the new homes with mail.

Last year, the postal service updated its guidance for the types of mailboxes available to serve new developments. Now, barring exceptional circumstances, new housing developments will get mail at shared “cluster” mailboxes, rather than having it delivered to door mail slots or individual curbside mailboxes.


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