Codes

Form-based codes and guidelines

The Live-Work Unit: Some general code problems and solutions

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

In the following discussion of characteristic code issues with live-work units, three assumptions are made. The first is that the work component occurs on the ground floor only, directly accessible from a public face of the building. The second is that the dwelling either actively shares the work space, or alternatively is located separately above or behind it. And third, it is assumed the work activity occurs in a building that is primarily a dwelling and is set on its own lot. Other arrangements fall into other type categories, requiring their own practices.

The Live-Work Unit: Layout and material preconditions

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

There are reasons beyond developer inertia that true live-work units have not proliferated as society's need for them has expanded. Live-work production has not advanced as it should have, at a pace inversely corresponding to the recessional of the industrial age in North America. In good part, the market’s failure to respond to social and economic change is attributable to stifling codes and standards, and to an entrenched regime that never envisioned the workplace and the dwelling coexisting within the same building.

Penrose Square

Penrose Square

Designed by Rounds Vanduzer Architects of Falls Church, Virginia. Courtesy of Arlington County.

Miami puts new code into effect

The City of Miami implemented Miami 21 — a development code based on the SmartCode —  after six months of preparations and behind-the-scenes efforts.

SmartCode comes to New England

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New Urban News Article with tables, 12/1/2007
Jamestown, Rhode Island, and Hamden, Connecticut, could be the first two New England communities to adopt the SmartCode. New urbanist teams conducted charrettes in both towns this fall, with the aim of adapting the form-based code to strikingly different local concerns.

New codes written for Gulf Coast

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New Urban News Article with image, 12/1/2005

The Mississippi Renewal Forum provided one of the first opportunities to introduce an entire region to the SmartCode and the idea of Transect-based and form-based coding. In the weeks since the Forum ended, a number of officials along the Gulf Coast have shown strong interest in having their communities implement codes recommended by new urbanist planning teams.

Hybrid codes versus form-based codes

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New Urban News Article with images, 4/1/2009

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.

Form-based codes reach a milestone

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New Urban News Article with tables and sidebar, 4/1/2008
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.

Codes make a difference in California, Virginia

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New Urban News Article with images, 7/1/2004
Adoption of form-based codes in Petaluma, California, and Arlington County, Virginia, is quickly paying off with new buildings that line the sidewalks and streets. In Petaluma, which enacted a version of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company’s SmartCode in July 2003, a retail and housing development called Basin Street Landing is nearing completion. It occupies former parking lots in part of the 400-acre area regulated by the new code (see July-August 2003 New Urban News). Laura Hall of Fisher & Hall Urban Design, which tailored the SmartCode to the 56,000-population community, says over $100 million in development has been approved since the code’s adoption, including Basin Street Landing, which contains 20,000 square feet of office and restaurant space on the ground floor and 43 apartments above.

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