The SmartCode is a unified land development ordinance for planning and design. It enables community vision
and specific outcomes, is site specific and is meant
to be locally customized.
Go to the Free
SmartCode Downloads page
Free downloads of the SmartCode and ways to purchase the SmartCode Manual.
- community vision
- local character
- conservation of open lands
- transit options
- walkable and mixed-use neighborhoods.
- wasteful sprawl development
- automobile-dominated streets
- empty downtowns
- a hostile public realm
The SmartCode is considered a form-based code
because it strongly addresses the form of development.
Conventional zoning codes focus on use, density and
parking, and have caused systemic problems over the
past sixty years by separating uses. The SmartCode goes
beyond this by recognizing the fact that while uses
are important, the form of what gets built is
The political power of the SmartCode lies in
the fact that instead of the one-size fits all conventional
code approach, it allows different approaches in different
areas within the community. This permits buy-in from
all corners of the constituency. The true importance
of this feature is that the current ad hoc basis for
regulation of real estate development is greatly reduced.
The SmartCode is a transect-based code as well as
a form-based code. It is based on the rural-to-urban
Transect, which employs a framework of six zones of
varying character, ranging from the wilderness to the
urban core. The six zones are: T1-Natural, T2-Rural,
T3-Sub-Urban, T4-General Urban, T5-Urban Center, and
The Transect is a powerful organizing principle because its standards can be coordinated across many
other disciplines and documents, including LEED
(environmental performance) and ITE
(transportation). The SmartCode integrates the design
process across professional disciplines, including traffic
engineering, architecture, town planning, ecology, landscape
architecture, and public works.
The SmartCode addresses development patterns at
three scales of planning:
- the Sector (Regional) Scale
- the Community Scale
- the Block and Building Scale
The SmartCode folds zoning, subdivision regulations,
and certain urban design standards into one compact
document. Therefore it may replace a number of other
documents. Its text is only 28 pages, plus Tables and
illustrations. It may be supplemented by architectural
design guidelines or a pattern book, if the community
desires more detailed regulation.
Go to the Free SmartCode
of the SmartCode and ways to purchase the SmartCode Manual
For free downloads of the modules for sustainable urbanism, affordability etc. go to