Coastal Smart Growth Home: Getting Started: Form-based Codes


Form-based codes are standards adopted into local law (usually as part of the zoning code) that use physical form as the organizing principle for buildings, rather than specific type of use. By designating appropriate form and scale, form-based codes address the relationship among buildings, streets, and neighborhoods, yielding a functional public space, productive mix of uses, and predictable permitting process.

How to Get Started

What Are Form-based Codes?

The Form-based Codes Institute’s web site has the definition, elements, check lists, examples of form-based codes, training, and links to various resources.

Form-based Codes: Implementing Smart Growth Neighborhood Street Design Guidelines: An Oregon Guide for Reducing Street Widths

This fact sheet produced by the Local Government Commission describes what form-based code is, why it works, and how to prepare a form-based code, and provides some examples.

Downtown Waterfront Form-based Code Workshop

This is the final report for an EPA, Office of Sustainable Communities grant, Marquette Smart Growth Implementation Assistance for Coastal Communities. The report outlines what form-based code is, the needs and goals of the city, and elements of the draft Marquette form-based code, including building and street scales.

Knoxville South Waterfront Form Based Development Code: Regulations for Designing the South Waterfront

A guide to the City of Knoxville, Tennessee's approach to developing its waterfront using form-based code. The Guide describes the city's vision and development standards, including buildings, streets, and shoreline requirements.