The Codes Study

The Codes Study is a collaborative effort led by Hazel Borys and Emily Talen, contributed to by many public and private planners. The Codes Study tracks SmartCodes (SCs), other Transect-based codes (TBCs), and other form-based codes (FBCs) that meet these Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI) criteria:

• Is the code’s focus primarily on regulating urban form and less on land use?
• Is the code regulatory rather than advisory?
• Does the code emphasize standards and parameters for forms with predictable physical outcomes (build-to lines, frontage type requirements, etc.) rather than relying on numerical parameters (FAR, density, etc.) whose products are impossible to predict?
• Does the code require private buildings to shape public space through building form standards with specific requirements for building placement?
• Does the code promote and conserve an interconnected street network and pedestrian-scaled blocks?
• Are regulations and standards keyed to specific locations on a regulating plan?
• Are the diagrams in the code unambiguous, clearly labeled, and accurate in their presentation of spatial configurations?

The Codes Study also tracks major initiatives and guidelines that may assist in forming form-based codes. While these may not meet FBCI criteria and do not count toward the numbers of SCs, TBCs, and FBCs, they are listed as FB Guidelines.

As of August 2010, the Codes Study has tracked 332 codes that meet FBCI criteria and listed 11 additional form-based guidelines. One hundred one of these has been adopted, with others in progress.

Hazel Borys has created google maps to locate adopted codes and codes in progress across the globe. By clicking on markers indicating a code, you can find more information about that individual effort, connect to related links, and see images of that place.