Making Better Places

City planner Jeff Speck, director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts, offers advice — in the form of ten City Design Resolutions — for elected officials who want to build better places. His advice is aimed at larger cities, but I think his points apply to smaller communities as well. (See the full article here.)

His ten points include:

1. Design Streets for People

2. Overrule the Specialists

3. Mix the Uses

4. Hide the Parking Lots

5. Small is Beautiful

6. Save That Building

7. Build Normal (Affordable) Housing

8. Build Green / Grow Green

9. Question your Codes

10. Don’t Forget Beauty

I think #9 (Question your codes) is a particularly promising approach since most people don’t even know what is in their town codes (and really, why should they?). The growing interest in form-based codes (or smart codes), which focus more on location, height, design, and parking rather than function could make it easier for communities to connect their comprehensive plan (the vision) with their zoning (the rules). Speck’s recommendations also match the areas of smart growth covered in HMC’s Colorado Smart Growth Scorecard.


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