Building Types in Zoning, Part 1: Why?

Building types are a key component of the physical environment and have existed for millennia in all types of walkable places: from crossroads and small towns to every size of city. Building types and the public realm have made all of these places.   But despite their existence before zoning, building types were left aside when zoning focused on the separation of uses while relegating physical form and character to a non-essential role. The physical realities and qualities of walkable places that existed long before zoning were now viewed through the lens of use, density and Floor Area Ratio (FAR): a lens that is not capable of recognizing physical form and character.
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Enable Missing Middle Housing in Your Town

Opticos principal Daniel Parolek inspired a new movement for housing choice in 2010 when he introduced the concept of the “missing middle” in American housing. Missing Middle Housing is a transformative concept that highlights the need for diverse, affordable housing choices in sustainable, walkable places.   Since then, Opticos has worked with communities across the country to navigate the process of analyzing local codes, clearly identifying barriers, and developing solutions to enable Missing Middle Housing.   Based on that work, we are excited to announce three new service packages.  Download an overview of these new packages designed to Enable Missing Middle Housing in Your Town.
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Rebuilding for Those in Need: Opticos Designs for Wildfire Cottage Initiative

In October of 2017, wildfires in Northern California burned at least 245,000 acres and over 5,000 acres in Sonoma County alone. Since then, Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County has explored ways to expand its programs across the board to serve households displaced by October’s devastating wildfires, including its latest initiative: the Sonoma Wildfire Cottages.   Opticos is proud to be part of the team, led by Marianne Cusato, renowned designer of the Katrina Cottage, and the Cypress Community Development Corporation selected by Sonoma Habitat, to design and build a series of model cottages on the Fountaingrove campus of Medtronic in Santa Rosa, California.
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Akanda SmartCode: Coding for Sustainability in Developing Countries

Sustainable development sits at the heart of President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s vision for the future of the Central African country of Gabon. In 2012, President Ondimba commissioned The Prince’s Foundation, along with Opticos and an international team of experts, to draft an Akanda Masterplan and SmartCode with the intent to establish a sustainable framework for the growth of Akanda, a 3,000-acre site at the northern edge of Gabon’s capital, Libreville, and adjacent to Akanda National Park, a lush, natural habitat of coastal mangroves, mudflats, wetlands, and patches of verdant forest.
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