Publication Date

5-2008

Committee Members

Mark Lindhult, Chair - Glenn Garber, Member

Abstract

Today with 3-dimensional computer modeling and sophisticated mapping technology, a community can envision their future more realistically than in recent history. This software and technology can help communities plan to use energy-efficient construction, preserve open space, reduce dependence on the automobile, and increase the diversity, density and affordability of housing opportunities; these tools can help communities plan and develop sustainably. Many communities, however, continue to rely on conventional zoning and traditional land use techniques that cannot take advantage of these new resources - will sprawl ever end? Form-based codes have evolved in response to criticisms of conventional, Euclidean zoning and to utilize computer-aided drawings and models. Form-based codes are a radical approach to zoning as it primarily regulates the form of structures in relation to the street, public realm and other structures, while land uses are of secondary consideration. The flexibility of form-based codes provides the framework to integrate many sustainable development principles into a community's zoning and land use regulations - form-based codes are a key component to a sustainable future. This project explores the feasibility of using form-based codes to help reinvigorate a portion of the town center in Amherst, Massachusetts, by identifying which design standards and dimensional requirements are most appropriate to transform the study area into a model of sustainable development that boasts mixed-uses, walkability, multi-modal transportation and integration of green infrastructure.