Design Guidelines

An image of historic Penn Station when it was first built in 1910, viewed from the outside with people, carriages, and streetcars passing by.

What Is Historic Preservation?

Historic preservation is a controversial, highly contested cause, with a long history of failures and successes in the United States.

September 2, 2021 - James Brasuell

Washington, D.C. Historic District

Balancing Aesthetics and Affordability

Policies too narrowly focused on design can drive up the cost of construction and prevent the development of affordable housing.

April 20, 2021 - Slate


New 'Design Excellence Overlay' Aims to Inspire New Development in Missoula

The city of Missoula professes a strategy of "focusing inward" when it comes to growth and development. A new 'Design Excellence Overlay' will help achieve more goals toward that strategy in the city's downtown.

October 18, 2018 - Missoula Current


The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Sustainable Transportation

How to design a transit system that is safe, green, and beautiful.

August 24, 2018 - ASLA The Dirt


Seattle's Popular Capitol Hill Neighborhood Getting New Design Guidelines

The new guidelines will allow for new design decisions in a neighborhood undergoing rapid change.

May 30, 2018 - Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

BART Train

BART's Transit-Oriented Development Bill Sets Disturbing Precedent, Says APA

AB 2923, which would allow the Bay Area Rapid Transit District to rezone their properties near stations for transit-oriented development, passed its first committee. The California chapter of APA objects to the preemption of local land use authority.

April 23, 2018 - California Chapter of American Planning Association


Keeping Our Children Safe After the Parkland High School Shooting

In the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Florida, the debate has been wide-ranging, from gun safety to arming teachers. All agree students must be safe, so why not look at architecture? The NRA has some tips.

February 28, 2018 - The Architects Newspaper

South Lake Union

Faced With Rapid Growth, Seattle's South Lake Union Revamps its Design Guidelines

A popular and changing neighborhood in Seattle has recommitted itself to urban design.

February 26, 2018 - The Urbanist

No Dumping

NACTO Releases New 'Urban Stormwater Guide'

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) adds a logical supplement to their library of street design guides: a guide to stormwater infrastructure that is often built alongside or as part of road infrastructure.

June 19, 2017 - Next City

FEMA Hurricane Sandy

New York Unveils Design Guidelines for Climate Resiliency

New York is piloting new building design guidelines aimed at improving the city's climate resiliency.

June 11, 2017 - Architectural Record

Portland Weird

How Not to Solve a Housing Crisis

More trouble in River City, as Portland and Oregon struggle with rising housing costs and come up with a puzzling solution.

June 8, 2017 - Michael Mehaffy

Design Guidelines for the New York City Housing Authority

An article notes the signs of change at the New York City Housing Authority, which has adopted its first-ever design guidelines in a renewed effort to deliver safe and healthy homes to residents.

January 22, 2017 - Next City

The Battle Against McMansions Continues in Burbank

With a two-year Interim Development Control Ordinance set to expire in March 2017, Burbank, California is working on new design guidelines for single-family homes.

September 26, 2016 - The Burbank Leader

Chicago Divvy

A New Guide for Siting Bikeshare Stations

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) is on a multi-modal roll, releasing two guides to non-automobile forms of transportation in recent weeks. The most recent offers guidance on why, where, and how to site bikeshare.

April 22, 2016 - Next City

Bus Lane

NACTO Releases New Transit-Focused Street Design Guide

One of the national centers of authority for street design is onboard with trends already in motion in local jurisdictions all over the United States. So let it be written; so let it be done?

April 19, 2016 - Streetsblog USA

Trump Sign

Trump Would Move Infamous Sign From Chicago to the White House If Elected

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has announced his plan to expand his branding if elected President of the United States in November.

April 1, 2016 - Planetizen April 1st Edition

Affordable Housing

A New Design Guide for Affordable Housing Developments

New affordable housing is only one step toward creating livable communities—a quality mix of uses on the ground floor, designed to integrate with the street and public spaces is also vital.

February 27, 2016 - Next City

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte Grows Weary of the Bland Cookie-Cutter Apartment Buildings

Designers and architects in Charlotte, North Carolina are asking the city to raise the bar when approving new apartment buildings to prevent more of the repetitive wood-frame design that has swept the city.

December 29, 2015 - The Charlotte Observer

Urban Careers

Topics Planners Don't Often Think About, But Should

There are a number of areas of planning that offer planners a role, but are not necessarily at the front of our minds. At the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Conference, researchers shared results that can impact practice.

November 1, 2015 - Jennifer Evans-Cowley

Op-Ed: No Room for Subjectivity in Los Angeles Design Guidelines

Sam Lubell outlines the good and bad of recent small lot design guidelines approved by Los Angeles.

July 6, 2014 - The Architect's Newspaper

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.