Form-based codes: A means to equity in a compassionate city


A century of traditional land-use practices has ingrained inequities deep into communities across America. We’ve produced sprawling, auto-oriented development that has also separated people based on wealth, ethnicity, and race. Form-based zoning is well-positioned to compliment equity-driven public policies, while also enabling walkable, human-scaled development that residents and businesses love.

Form-Based Codes

Economic mobility drives Charlotte’s new TOD zoning


Charlotte is booming. Since 2003, upwards of 12,000 new housing units have opened along the LYNX Blue line. But when planners went back to look at the development over the last decade, they weren’t entirely satisfied with the results. So the city decided to create new TOD zoning that would better reflect the needs and context of different stations as we hear on this month’s episode of Building Better Communities with Transit.

Technical assistance Transportation

A decade of lessons on good zoning


Looking back at 100-plus submissions for the Driehaus Form-Based Codes Award over the years reveals how the practice of form-based coding has matured and evolved. The quality of submissions has improved since the early years and municipal planning staff are increasingly engaged in drafting codes for their communities. It’s clear that form-based codes are growing in popularity and in many contexts they are being paired with policies to achieve more equitable development.

Form-Based Codes

Downtown Las Vegas: “The legend reinvented”


After two years of robust education and community engagement, the City of Las Vegas is ready to implement their downtown master plan, using a new a form-based zoning code. The city credits our Form-Based Codes Institute’s comprehensive three-course curriculum for helping to achieve this first-of-a-kind achievement in Nevada, which city officials believe will lead to a compact, vibrant downtown to support future growth.

Form-Based Codes Uncategorized

Zoning for people & transit with form-based codes


This month on the podcast Building Better Communities with Transit we’re chatting with Susan Henderson of PlaceMakers about the use and benefits of form-based codes. We talk about the focus of these codes (the public realm where people gather and interact with each other), how they are used to support transit, and how a code can affect the streets around them.

Form-Based Codes Technical assistance Transportation

Green River, WY hosts workshop to align development code with master plan

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The sun sets over Tollgate Rock in Green River, WY. Photo by Jonathan Percy, via Flickr.

When a small town has big plans for changing its development patterns, how does it put them into action? From fixing restrictive codes to working with the real estate community—what the first steps to smart growth?

On August 27 and 28, 2014, officials and residents from Green River, WY met with representatives from Smart Growth America for an expert-led workshop focused on implementing the ambitious vision inside the new Green River Comprehensive Master Plan. Provided as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program, the two-day event was designed to provide the City with tools to modernize its development codes so that they encourage the types of growth outlined in the plan’s vision.

The Green River Comprehensive Master Plan was adopted in January 2013 after a year-long public input process. The plan lays out the community’s long-term vision and serves as a blueprint for future growth and investment within the city and surrounding areas. For the implementation process, Green River leaders sought technical assistance from Smart Growth America, hoping to bring the city’s development codes into better alignment with the master plan’s principles. The resulting two-day workshop helped Green River identify high-priority code fixes to promote infill development and redevelopment, preserve and revitalize existing neighborhoods, and promote orderly development in suitable outlying areas.

Technical assistance