Form-based Blog

August 13, 2013 - 4:17pm
Marina portrait

Marina Khoury, DPZ Architects and Town Planners

In the words of Socrates, “By far the greatest and most admirable form of wisdom is that needed to plan and beautify cities and human communities.” 

For those of us devoted to the arduous and complex task of building better places, an intriguing question was succinctly asked of the FBCI recently and it sparked a healthy debate amongst us:  

How is a form-based code more effective than a conventional use-based code with form standards added to it ?  

We believe it is, but explaining exactly how requires us to be more precise. 

But first, let’s take a step back in...

August 2, 2013 - 9:59am
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Kevin Klinkenberg, Olsson Associates

Though tempted, I won’t write a soliloquy today on the many virtues of street trees. Others have done so better than I, including Allan Jacobs, who wrote in the book Great Streets, “Given a limited budget, the most effective expenditure of funds to improve a street would probably be on trees.”

Some of my colleagues have written about the inherent economic value of trees, parsing all manner of numbers and outcomes. Those are interesting intellectually, but they are also frankly numbers that can be gamed depending on the person running them. For me it’s more practical. Trees provide shade. They make a street more beautiful. Both of...

July 17, 2013 - 1:16pm

Steve Price, Urban Advantage

How much of a building exterior is covered with openings, in particular windows and doors, how transparent the enclosing glass is, and how the openings are arranged are issues of fenestration. Not all form-based codes concern themselves with building fenestration. FBCs commonly regulate street width, block size, and buildings’ disposition on their lots and orientation to sidewalks—all issues affecting walkability. One can debate whether fenestration is also about walkability. It’s clearly more interesting to walk past buildings with windows and doors than ones without.

December 7, 2012 - 10:32am

Roger Eastman, City of Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff adopted a form-based code for the city’s downtown and neighboring historic districts in November 2011. As the city’s Zoning Code Administrator, I’ve helped to guide the code making since its inception, and I’ve enjoyed the process. I could tell you a lot about what I’ve learned along the way. In this post, I’ll just begin with a very basic consideration, a key ingredient to our success in Flagstaff. It is the essential importance of education from the very beginning to help city officials and all residents gain understanding of Smart Growth principles and FBCs.