Assessing Criticisms of Form-Based Codes

Since their resurrection in Seaside 30 years ago, roughly 300 form-based codes (FBCs) have been adopted. By their very nature FBCs faces many hurdles.

"Market share is a common metric for measuring success of a product. Since their resurrection in Seaside 30 years ago, roughly 300 form-based codes (FBCs) have been adopted. Many of these codes are for small specific areas, not the entire city. Overall, less than 0.2 percent of US cities have adopted FBCs. Why have we not gone to scale with these kinds of codes?" asks Kaizer Rangwala.

"By their very nature FBCs faces many hurdles. Over the last century, we have separated zoning standards from physical planning, leaving out place-making. FBCs are now trying to make up for this all at once. The planner’s concern is we don’t have the capability to do it in-house and the money for consultants has dried up. We have to overcome the legacy of the planning system we have inherited and undergo a generational shift."

"Bureaucracy and inertia make it difficult to escape from entrenched old ideas that are hard to change. While Euclidean zoning was born before the depression, it came to age in a rapidly growing post-war economy. FBCs are much more difficult to institute as they seek to replace an existing system in a much slower economy."

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