Form-Based Codes

Law, Planning
  • What Are Form-Based Codes?

“Form-based codes foster predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. They are regulations, not mere guidelines, adopted into city or county law. Form-based codes offer a powerful alternative to conventional zoning.” – FBCI

“Form-based codes place a primary emphasis on building type, dimensions, parking location and façade features, and less emphasis on uses. They stress the appearance of the streetscape, or public realm, over long lists  of different use types. ” – Local Govenment Commission

Form-based codes were developed to overcome the problem of sprawl, which is created by use-based codes.

Planning Timeline – Landmark Laws


The Law of the Indies

1785 – Land Ordinance of 1785 – Law passed by the Congress that allowed for setting aside lands and selling lands in Northwest territory. It established the basis for the Public Land Survey System, and also established a mechanism for funding public education.

1862 – Homestead Act
1862 – Morrill Act

1928 – Federal Standard City Planning Enabling Act

1935 – Soil conservation Act
1937 – Housing Act

1969 – National Environmental Policy Act

1972 – Coastal Zone Management Act
1973 – Oregon Land Use Law
1976 – American Law