Category Archives: Form-Based Codes

Form-Based Codes use form-based rather than use-based zoning to create walkable, livable, mixed-use neighborhoods.

  • Articles (14)
  • Awards (1)
  • B Corp (8)
  • Events (7)
  • Form-Based Codes (40)
  • Missing Middle (34)
  • News (31)
  • Placemaking (23)
  • Process (19)
  • Projects (42)
  • Small Towns (13)
  • Sustainability (24)
  • Uncategorized (5)
  • Urban Design (36)
  • Walkability (31)
    1. Zoning Practice May 2013
      Avoiding Common Form-Based Code Mistakes

      Dan Parolek’s article “Avoiding Common Form-Based Coding Mistakes, Part 1” was published in the May 2013 issue of Zoning Practice, a publication put out by the American Planning Association. Read the synopsis from the Zoning Practice website below. One of … Continue reading

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    2. Mesa senior housing underway
      Mesa’s Form-Based Code Showing Quick Built Results!

      The first building utilizing the new Mesa Form-Based Code, which was adopted in June 2012, is deep into its construction with four floors already framed. This building is a $17-million, 81-unit senior-living complex built on a 2.4-acre parcel on First … Continue reading

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    3. We created several sub-district Form-Based Codes in Hercules, replacing existing zoning, in order to effectively implement their new urbanist vision.
      Opticos Participating in APA PTS Training on Form-Based Planning and Coding in Seattle this June

      Dan Parolek and Tony Perez of Opticos Design along with Jennifer Carlat from the Nashville Davidson County Planning Department, Bill Spikowski of Spikowski Planning Associates, and Ed Starkie of Urban Advisors, will lead an Advanced Form-Based Planning and Zoning workshop … Continue reading

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    4. Austin Land Development Code SOQ Cover
      Opticos Awarded the Austin Comprehensive Land Development Code

      We are very excited to announce that we have been awarded the rewrite of the Austin Comprehensive Land Development Code. This project, spanning over the next couple years, is the final “priority project” of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, adopted … Continue reading

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    5. Gabon Market perspective
      Opticos Works with the Prince’s Foundation in Gabon, Africa

      Opticos worked with the Prince’s Foundation to prepare a Master Plan and initial SmartCode calibration for Phase II of the Angondje New Town Master Plan in Gabon, Africa. Angondje is the largest growth area in Gabon with a proposed population … Continue reading

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    6. Downtown Nashville Code Pages
      Nashville Sees Significant Economic Effect in the Wake of Form-Based Code

      Read Rick Bernhardt’s article in Better Cities and Towns, “Nashville values, development rise with form-based code,” which discusses the impacts Nashville’s Downtown Form-Based Code has had on the city since it’s introduction in February 2010. Opticos performed a professional review … Continue reading

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    7. CFBC_MissingMiddle
      Part 2: Addressing Missing Middle Housing and Missing People in the Queen City: Cincinnati’s Form-Based Code and Transect

      As part of a charrette held the week of Saturday April 28th, Opticos Design built upon months of field documentation, including many hours spent on Google Earth, mapping analysis, photography, and an assessment of the existing zoning code to refine an initial calibration of Cincinnati’s Urban-to-Rural Transect.

      Choosing and refining a form-based Organizing Principle for a city the size of Cincinnati with such a diverse range of pre-1940’s urban patterns and a rich urban morphology is one of the most challenging, but underappreciated aspects of creating a Form-Based Code (FBC). For Cincinnati, the Urban-to-Rural Transect was selected as the Organizing Principle and was up to the task. The calibration of the transect allowed the team to create a framework that would reinforce the fine-grain fabric and rich palette of building types, both Missing Middle and others, that are an important part of defining the community character of the City’s urban neighborhoods.

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    8. CFBC_MissingMiddle
      Part 1: Addressing Missing Middle Housing and Missing People in the Queen City: Cincinnati’s Form-Based Code and Transect

      Cincinnati’s urban neighborhoods are at a tipping point. The City has lost 40% of its population since 1950 leaving suburban densities in the city’s formerly urban neighborhoods. Many residential buildings and lots sit vacant or unmaintained, with over 10,000 historically contributing units in need of renovation. Neighborhood main streets have withered due to lack of people, competition from nearby big box stores, and bad thoroughfare design that speeds cars and potential customers through these neighborhoods rather than to them. In addition, jobs followed the people to the suburbs.

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    9. Transforming an urban greenway
      Transforming an Urban Greenway: From an Unobserved Gem to a Great Address

      Opticos led a team of consultants in re-imagining Richmond’s commercial corridors through a public multi-day design-based visioning process called a charrette. The efforts of the visioning done at the charrette will eventually lead to a Form-Based Code for the corridors. As part of this work, Opticos and the consultant team focused on ways in which the Form-Based Code could help support the local efforts in polishing up the urban gem that is the Richmond Greenway…

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    10. This courtyard housing project in Santa Fe, NM incorporates 6 units on a ¼ acre lot (24 du/acre) in a form that is compatible with adjacent single-family homes.
      Missing Middle Housing: Responding to the Demand for Walkable Urban Living

      The mismatch between current US housing stock and shifting demographics combined with the growing demand for walkalble urban living has been poignantly defined by recent research and publications by the likes of Christopher Nelson and Chris Leinberger, and most recently … Continue reading

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