The City of Pasadena, California, approved design guidelines for housing and mixed use buildings throughout much of the city in October. Created by Moule & Polyzoides of Pasadena, Design Guidelines for Neighborhood Commercial & Multi-Family Districts is one of the most thorough and useful municipal design documents New Urban News has come across. The specifics relate to Pasadena, but the principles apply everywhere.
The transect-based, form-based Miami 21 zoning ordinance was adopted by the Miami City Commission on a 4-1 vote October 22 (see reports in the September and October-November issues of New Urban News). It will take effect in February. Miami is the second municipality (after Pass Christian, Mississippi) to adopt a calibrated SmartCode over its full jurisdiction, and the first major city to do so. The lead consultant was Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company.
On its second try, the Miami City Commission on Sept. 4 approved the “Miami 21” zoning code, which would place South Florida’s biggest city under a form-based code. The new code would be “the largest form-based code adopted anywhere,” says Marina Khoury, project leader for Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., which helped the municipality tailor a Transect-based regulatory framework to Miami’s needs.
With a unanimous vote of city council, San Antonio approved a form-based code for optional use citywide. The Form-Based Zoning District (FBZD), based on the SmartCode, began with a Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company charrette and was customized by the Gateway Planning Group.
As form-based coding continues to increase in popularity, the term “hybrid code” is being used more often. Hybrid codes involve the meshing of conventional zoning codes with graphic urban design standards that typically address setbacks, parking placement, building bulk, materials, and architectural features. Such a hybrid is not a form-based code (FBC) and likely will not produce the physical outcome desired. While urban design standards within a conventional coding framework are beneficial, they are not enough, and are not a viable alternative to FBCs.
Hutto, Texas, became the second city in that state to adopt a citywide SmartCode, according to Community Development Director Matthew Lewis. The consultants on the project were Placemakers, Gateway Planning Group, and the architecture firm ERO. Hutto is a fast-growing municipality 20 miles north of Austin.
By Daniel K. Slone and Doris S. Goldstein with W. Andrew Gowder Jr.
John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 368 pp., $75 hardcover
This is the first book on legal aspects of New Urbanism and sustainable development, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone will soon surpass it. The book contains much that new urbanist planners, developers, and architects need to know, all of it presented clearly in everyday English.
First comprehensive book-length guide is published as local officials laud new codes’ effects.
Since 2001, when Carol Wyant at Pathfinder Consulting in Chicago coined the term “form-based code,” this relatively new tool for shaping development has found a receptive audience in communities nationwide.