Form-based codes

News and resources relating to form-based codes, the SmartCode, and other urban-oriented regulations.

Related News

Form-based coding: Are we there yet?

Sonia Hirt's Zoned in the USA (2015) is one of the more important books on land-use regulations to be published in years and it includes incisive observations on form-based codes. 

Thu, Sep 24th 2015 12:51pm
The problems of success in the new urban era

Cities face challenges associated with rising values, an influx of more educated residents, and gentrification. Here's what cities can do.

Thu, Sep 17th 2015 12:48pm
Opticos' Parolek and Perez to instruct Form-Based Codes 101

Have you always wanted to better understand form-based codes and how they impact the wellbeing of communities? Form-Based Codes 101, a new series of courses from Planetizen and the Form-Based Codes Institute, provides a great place to start. In the series, Opticos Founder and Principal Dan Parolek and Director of Form-Based Coding Tony Perez join leaders from other firms to share their insights into form-based codes, from the role of downtown areas to the legal aspects of preparing a code. Form-based codes respond to the physical form of a community and the land it stands on, providing more responsive structures for development than traditional zoning regulations.

Fri, Sep 11th 2015 3:18pm
Form-based codes offer predictability

Boulder, Colorado, officials have a choice: Horse trading or transparent design?

Fri, Aug 14th 2015 4:17pm
Beaufort County FBC Gets the Nod from Driehaus, CNU Charter Awards

The Beaufort County CDC, which incorporates new zoning regulations for both walkable urban and driveable suburban areas, was recognized last week with the Form Base Code Institute's Driehaus Award, and the Congress or New Urbanism's Charter Award of Merit. Both awards were presented last week at CNU's 23rd annual congress in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Mon, Jun 22nd 2015 10:46pm
Form-based codes: What's the deal?

The community gets walkable neighborhoods with affordable housing—developers get a streamlined approval process.

Wed, Jun 17th 2015 4:23pm
Connecting people to jobs on the waterfront

For Ithaca's job production and economic growth to continue, the community needs more people, housing, and places for this creative energy to express itself.

Mon, Jun 15th 2015 10:13am
A mixed-use waterfront for the city

A series of public spaces on the water that would allow people to live, work, and play in a water-related neighborhood in Ithaca—an unusual amenity in Upstate New York.

Fri, Jun 12th 2015 11:43am
Downtown Bastrop Place-Making Initiative

Gateway Planning supported Bastrop in taking the next step to ensure that Downtown continues as the heart of the rapidly growing city in the greater Austin Region. The Bastrop City Council voted unanimously to adopt a redevelopment plan and implementing form-based code for the greater downtown area following a unanimous recommendation from Planning and Zoning commission and various other boards and commissions. The new code will implement the community-crafted vision to protect historic buildings and encourage new development that reflects the character desired by residents and business owners.

Wed, Jun 10th 2015 3:12pm
A new village for compact regional growth

Form Ithaca examined how spread-out growth in the Town of Ithaca can be reorganized into a village with a complete street connecting to downtown.

Wed, Jun 10th 2015 10:11am
How zoning reform could help my town

We intend to look at how a form-based code, supported by smart transportation decisions, could advance the terrific goals set by citizens and community leaders.

Fri, May 29th 2015 11:22am
Health, safety, and welfare for the next generation

Lately I’ve been thinking about “health, safety, and general welfare” — the basis by which zoning is typically legitimized and measured — and wondering just how great a disconnect needs to form between our purported values and our land use regulations before we admit that something’s not working.

Thu, May 21st 2015 8:37am
Building a single-stair walk up

John Anderson offers tips on how to get the most of a single-stair walk-up building while complying to building and accessibility codes. 

Thu, May 14th 2015 5:58pm
Are you getting the change you want from the status quo?

The future of communities is being written by land-use regulations. If we want to intentionally author our future, we had better get busy and consider the options.

Thu, Mar 5th 2015 5:17pm
Preserving micro units in Norman, Oklahoma

A small infill builder tests a new housing type in a neighborhood next to a university, generating a win for housing diversity.

Wed, Mar 4th 2015 11:10am
The benefits of form-based planning and coding

Let’s discuss how community planning could be fundamentally reorganized to improve both efficiency and placemaking.

Mon, Mar 2nd 2015 10:03am
Dallas-Fort Worth is a laboratory for placemaking

The region is at a crossroads between Texas-sized sprawl and connected, walkable neighborhoods. Every national issue on land use and transportation is playing out in DFW and will be debated at CNU.

Mon, Feb 9th 2015 11:45am
The forward march of form-based codes

The latest update of the of the Codes Study tracks 600 form-based codes and guidelines in the US and abroad—a significant rise in the last two years.

Wed, Jan 28th 2015 10:16am
Beaufort County Eliminates PUDs in Favor of Walkable Neighborhoods!

Beaufort County followed the Town of Port Royal to become the second of three local jurisdictions to adopt a shared, Form-Based Coding platform. Opticos was commissioned in 2010 to create a multijurisdictional Form-Based Code that Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort, and the Town of Port Royal could share in order to better coordinate growth between the three jurisdictions, help channel future growth toward existing urban areas, and protect the county’s rural character. Opticos worked closely with all three communities to create a shared framework of Transect zones and related standards that could be adapted to the needs of each community.

Wed, Jan 21st 2015 8:47pm
System A and System B

When the research favors compact, mixed-use neighborhoods, why does government favor sprawl?

Mon, Jan 19th 2015 10:41am
'Deadwood City' no more, thanks to new code

With the help of a form-based code (FBC), Redwood City, California, has become the new Silicon Valley hot spot.

Mon, Oct 27th 2014 1:06pm
This area protected by form-based codes

A cartoon by Dhiru Thadani points out the potential of form-based codes to preserve open space, which is sometimes overlooked. 

Thu, Oct 16th 2014 1:17pm
Form-based code adopted to redevelop business campus

The Hartford, a Fortune 500 insurance and investment firm based in Hartford, Connecticut, is using form-based coding to spur redevelopment of its 173-acre former business campus.

Thu, Oct 9th 2014 4:14pm
Top 10 Misconceptions about form-based codes

Several common assumptions about new urban codes fail to stand up to scrutiny.

Tue, Sep 23rd 2014 9:28am
Major transit-oriented project advances in Atlanta suburb

A form-based code is approved for the City of Doraville’s town center and former GM factory.

Thu, Sep 4th 2014 11:16am

Adopted SmartCodes

Click here for larger SmartCode maps.



The forward march of form-based codes

The latest update of the of the Codes Study tracks 600 form-based codes and guidelines in the US and abroad—a significant rise in the last two years.

Wed, Jan 28th 2015 10:16am
System A and System B

When the research favors compact, mixed-use neighborhoods, why does government favor sprawl?

Mon, Jan 19th 2015 10:41am
Zoning matters for urban crime, study suggests

A study of 205 blocks in high-crime areas of Los Angeles suggests that increasing residential zoning in blocks that are otherwise zoned for commercial can reduce crime. The study, published in the February issue of University of Pennsylvania Law Review, finds that city blocks zoned exclusively for residential uses, as well as those zoned for residential and commercial (mixed) uses have less crime than blocks that are zoned solely for commercial use. The research shows that single-use commercially zoned blocks have expected crime rates that are about 45 percent higher than blocks with residential uses mixed in.

Mon, Feb 25th 2013 8:39am