Form-based code and Airport boulevard

I have always felt that zoning regulations are an insidious evil that have caused our communities to be built in ways that are impractical and, well, unpleasant. It doesn't make sense to completely separate uses, so that we end up with huge strip malls and housing developments without shops or sidewalks. That's why I'm excited to learn about a viable alternative, called form-based code. The idea is to regulate the form, rather than the use, of properties. In other words, you can put any kind of use in a building, as long as it visually and functionally fits in with the neighborhood. While it wouldn't necessarily make sense to put a Starbuck's into a house in a suburban neighborhood (hmm... maybe that's not such a bad idea ;-), if you allow a little flexibility in visual design then different uses can be very compatible. Even more important, they can be synergistic. Form-based codes are being proposed for the north Airport boulevard neighborhood in Austin, and I support it. Spread the word!

1 comment:

Amin Shali said...

I think this code could encourage more local businesses to thrive in a community. So, to get milk or a coffee in the morning, one doesn't have to make a trip to HEB, which is perhaps not so close!
We could live differently!