Ways to Fail at Form-Based Codes 03: Misapply the Transect

On 50th anniversary of the Jetsons, Hazel Borys celebrates city planning that isn't pie in the sky, but instead lets us cast a shadow.

1 minute read

May 3, 2013, 6:00 AM PDT

By Scott Doyon


"When it comes to misapplying — or, more commonly, overly simplifying — the Transect, we’re all guilty on some level. For instance, I often speak generally about its inherent rural-to-urban spectrum and how, as you move through it, the landscape changes its character. The highways and byways whisking you through the wilderness and countryside get increasingly slower as you approach the city center, becoming streets of very specific proportions. Buildings change too, sitting on their lots in much more formal fashion as you move to the core, with trees and sidewalks dutifully matching the rhythms of their formality."

"This may lead you to believe that the Transect is like a fried egg, with the most urban T6 in the middle, slowly fanning out to the wilderness T1 along the edge. This sort of Jetson-like city is the Transect misapplied."

Borys goes on to discuss using the rural-to-urban Transect as a method of transitioning away from use-based zoning into form-based code. She uses a number of cases including Kona, HI; Miami, FL; Ranson, WV: and New York, NY — and the Jetsons — to make her point.

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