Form-based Codes are a method of engineering the built environment through zoning ordinance to realize a particular and predictable urban form. Form-based Codes focus primarily on the quality, form, and relationship between streetscapes and building facades to create pedestrian friendly environments. This differs from traditional, or Euclidean, zoning codes which focus primarily on the separation of land uses and are typically not flexible enough to accommodate innovative development practices. Form-based Codes have become popular in urban population centers for municipalities seeking to address the issues of urban sprawl, multimodal safety and deterioration of historic neighborhoods.
The SmartCode is a type of form-based code that offers an alternative to conventional zoning regulations. According to its lead author, Andrés Duany, the SmartCode is based on the traditional neighborhood model as it varies along the urban-to-rural Transect. In keeping with the new urbanist principle that the neighborhood is the basic unit of urban form, the SmartCode provides design criteria for streets, blocks, open spaces and buildings based on their geographic location from rural preserve to urban core. Municipalities can now adopt the SmartCode as a replacement for the aging zoning ordinances that perpetuate sprawl.
Click here to view or download the SmartCode Manual.