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Community Design

Design Guidelines and Pattern Books

Applicable Community Size

More local governments are using design guidelines and pattern books as methods for creating, preserving, or reinforcing the distinctive architectural character of an area.  Design guidelines typically regulate building scale, façade, and landscaping to ensure new development fits in with the surrounding area and preserves a sense of place.  They include more detail than a general plan, but allow more flexibility than zoning regulations. 

Walkable Blocks

Applicable Community Size

Walkable blocks is a street configuration that provides short high connectivity blocks to both increase pedestrian activity, reduce traffic speed through the neighborhood and reduce overall vehicle miles traveled.   Frequently, walkable blocks also have shallow building setbacks and greater building density to allow opportunities for interaction.

This tool focuses on how to incorporate walkability into your community, making it a safe place for all users.

Form-Based Codes

Applicable Community Size

“Form-based codes focus on the desired structure and appearance of the built environment, rather than on restricted uses (the focus for more conventional planning tools). Form-based codes typically address the exterior form, massing, and site design of buildings and their relationship to the site and “public realm” (streets, parks, or other public spaces).

Sustainability Planning

Applicable Community Size

Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs . The three, interrelated pillars of sustainable development are the environment, social equity, and economic development. To be sustainable is to balance the aims of these pillars with the need to use resources more efficiently.