A New Path to Code Reform

The Users’ Guide to Code Reform leads planners through the code reform process, providing tools for governments lacking the capacity to develop a full form-based code. Susan Henderson and Matt Lambert hit the high points.
February 6, 2019, 2pm PST | Hazel Borys
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"The Project for Code Reform is one of the most important efforts we’ve had the privilege of contributing to in the last decade. We’ve spent most of our professional efforts crafting Form-Based Codes (FBC) for local governments, and while we still feel that is the zoning gold standard for placemaking, we realize FBCs are not accessible to many communities across North America for reasons of capacity—either staff or political. Increasingly, local governments want to align their zoning regulations with their goals for placemaking, incremental development, livability, and economic success. They realize conventional suburban standards have completely failed to solve for these issues; however, there are often gaps in political support, staff capacity, and budget to hire consultants for a major rewrite of their ordinances.

"When you consider the 42,000 units of local government in the US, and the vast majority with limited budgets and staff, the issue becomes how to deploy zoning reform broadly, with the least impact on capacity. While most current zoning-focused RFPs include form-based elements, and the spread of FBCs has accelerated, thousands of municipalities and counties continue to guide development with zoning that is antithetical to community goals. At present, analogous to tech start-ups, FBCs have a scaling problem: how can we accelerate the reform of existing codes by local governments in a politically and economically sensitive way?"

Henderson and Lambert go on to highlight alternatives, via their work with Project for Lean Urbanism's Lean Code Tool the Project for Code Reform's Users’ Guide to Zoning Reform.

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Published on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 in PlaceShakers
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