Form-Based Code


Form Based Code

Form-Based Code (FBC) is a relatively new zoning technique that considers the characteristics of a particular place and implements the vision for that place. This kind of zoning is intended to create walkable places where they are desired.

Form-Based Code considers the many components that combine to form great places. Unlike traditional zoning which tends to segregate the use of space, Form-Based Codes take into account the form and design of buildings, streets, parking, and open spaces, making it a pleaasant place to live, work, and play.

In traditional zoning, land is designated as single-use districts such as residential, commercial, or industrial, that create difficulties in mixing uses and limited success in shaping the neighborhood. The process of using Form-Based Codes starts with a vision that anticipates more cohesive neighborhoods that are active, walkable places with a mix of uses and housing types. Communities are able to proactively plan for the type of development they want, rather than defensively reacting to development they do not want. Form-based code reconnects the principles of design with community planning and zoning.

Form-Based Code Benefits

Form-Based Codes can benefit a community in a wide variety of ways, from increased economic value to easier development approvals.

Template Form-Based Code Organization Chart

The Template Form-Based Code is made up of six primary sections designed interact with each other: Places Types, Districts, Uses, Building Types, Street Types, and Open Space Types.

Place Types

Eight Place Types were developed for the Wasatch Region based on characteristics like station context, land use, development pattern, and scale. The Place Types form the basis of the Template Code.

Building Types

Districts permit a mix of Uses and Building Types. Some Districts permit a fairly succinct set of Uses permitted within only a couple of Building Types, while other Districts are very flexible, permitting a wide range of Uses in a variety of different allowed Building Types.

Using the Manual & Template

The Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Form-Based Code Advisory Committee have developed a manual and a template code with the help of a consultant, Farr Associates. This manual/template focuses on the types of centers and corridors identified in the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision. 


Download the complete Form-Based Code manual plus the source files to create your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about Form-Based Codes (FBCs)? Review our list of Frequently Asked Questions.