Ways to Fail at Form-Based Codes 01: Don’t Articulate a Vision

Like any tool, form-based codes must be wielded skillfully for beautiful results. Hazel Borys kicks off a series on ways we go awry.

Hazel Borys, co-author of the Codes Study, blogs about the number one challenge to writing an effective form-based code: Failing to establish a community vision.

"Great visions almost always center on what is special about a place. Smaller cities often focus on natural features, like mountains, waterways, or plains. Or extraordinary social amenities, like strong arts and cultural communities, or foodie havens, or quaint main streets built for antiquing and local music. Bigger cities almost always offer up creative class amenities like 'Start-Up City Miami' or 'Strong, Smart New York' or 'Toronto the Big.' Or maybe it’s 'Dare to Live Outdoors San Diego' or the great 'Pub Sheds' in Decatur or Asheville."

"Visions that can be codified — made into land use laws that say how neighborhoods will form — are much more nuanced than a slogan or a core competency, though. They’re broken down into vision, policy, actions, and plans, along with public-private partners who are willing to do the hard work of bringing it all to reality. The Vision Keepers, if you will."

Full Story: Ways to Fail at Form-Based Codes 01: Don’t Articulate a Vision

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