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FBC 201: Placemaking with Form-Based Codes in Clearwater, Florida


FBC 201: Placemaking With Form-Based Codes in Clearwater, Florida 

Wednesday and Thursday, April 12-13, 2017

Pinellas County Planning Department
310 Court St.
Clearwater, FL 33756
United States

Map and Directions

Approval pending for 16 AICP CM, CNU-A

This two-day course provides an in-depth understanding of how to guide good urban form through a regulatory framework.  Participants learn to create form-based codes by drawing upon an area’s best features to conceptualize the urban elements that shape public space and community character. Instructors delve into the basics of urban form, combining lecture and case studies with “hands-on” participatory exercises in the essential tasks of coding.

The course uses presentations and interactive discussions to enhance participants’ knowledge of urban design at the scale of the building and building types, the street and street types, the block and the neighborhood. Participants work together to apply theory and practice as they create a vision and regulatory elements of plan for an illustrative area.  Instructors and panelists discuss unexpected design challenges, and explore design possibilities for greenfield sites, redevelopment areas, already built-out communities and regional plans.

Click the tabs above to see lodging options, agenda and instructors.

NOTE:  The one-day class: ABCs of Form-Based Codes — or FBC 101 on-line — is prerequisite for this class.


Residence Inn by Marriott Clearwater Downtown
940 Court St.
Clearwater, FL 33756
Phone: (727) 562-5400

Comfort Suites Clearwater – Dunedin
1941 Edgewater Drive
Clearwater, FL 33755
Phone: (727) 489-5000

Chart House Suites on Clearwater Bay
850 Bayway Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33767
Phone: (727) 449-8007

Quality Hotel Beach Resort
655 S. Gulfview Blvd.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
Phone: (727) 442-7171

Ramada Limited Clearwater Hotel and Suites
2061 Gulf to Bay Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 446-8007


The following preliminary agenda is subject to change.

A final agenda will be ready one week before the start of the class.

DAY ONE  — Wednesday, April 12, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 AM Light Breakfast and Registration
8:30 – 8:45 AM Welcome and Course Highlights
Introduction to the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI). Understanding the role of the regulatory framework in determining urban form; how form-based coding creates compact, walkable urban communities.
8:45 – 9:15 AM Introductory Discussion
Why form matters. Participants’ objectives and desired takeaways. Coding issues in your community.
9:15 – 10:15 AM Urban Form Basics: The Urban Neighborhood
Walkable neighborhoods are the keystone to vibrant and economically and physically healthy communities whether they are new communities or revitalized neighborhoods within towns and cities. They also are the basic building block of towns and cities. What are the physical characteristics of these places that should be reinforced in good planning and zoning and how has conventional zoning fallen short?  This session will look at the components of a walkable neighborhood starting with the center/main street which provides the social and physical center for a neighborhood.  Instructors will then look at the interior and edges of communities, how great neighborhoods can include a mix of housing choices, the role of mixing uses within sub-areas, how neighborhoods work together to define a city, and how the network and hierarchy of streets reinforces the quality of  place.
10:15 – 10:30 AM Break
10:30 – 11:30 AM Urban Form Basics: Streets/Street Space
In this session, participants will learn how to create a planning framework for place-making and the network, context, street types; elements of the street cross-section; how to overcome barriers to healthy streets; and resources for creating great streets.
11:30 AM – 12:15 PM Urban Form Basics: Site/Building Design Principles and Building Types
This session will cover how buildings shape the public streetscape and private open space, the palette of building types that make up a city and the types of building features that work in different neighborhoods and cities. How to use building type alternatives to respond to site constraints and community features will also be discussed.
12:15 – 1:15 PM Lunch on Your Own/ Informal Discussion with Instructors
1:15 – 1:45 PM First Urban Design Example Projects: Street / Block / Building Scale
1:45 – 2:30 PM Urban Form Basics: The Urban Block
In this session, participants will learn how urban blocks define the physical structure of the places we inhabit.
2:30 – 3:15 PM Second Urban Design Example Projects: How Walkable Neighborhoods Make a Successful City
In this interactive session, participants will learn to identify aspects of walkable neighborhoods in different contexts — small towns, medium-sized cities and city centers. Examples will show how context was addressed and how a community can be more competitive through the quality and diversity of its neighborhoods. How FBCs use transitions to regulate critical connections between very different environments will also be discussed.
3:15 – 3:30 PM Break
3:30 – 5:30 PM Exercise – Part 1: Creating a Vision and Illustrative Plan
This is the first of a two-part exercise that explores the fundamental process of form-based coding. Instructors will work with class participants to translate a community vision into form-based regulations. Participants will learn how to create a vision, decide what to regulate and the degree of change needed to achieve the outcomes embodied in the vision. In this session, participants will create the vision.  On Day 2, they willlearn how to create a regulatory framework that will achieve the vision.
5:30 – 5:45 PM Questions and Answers

DAY TWO — Thursday, April 13, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 AM Light Breakfast
8:30 – 9:30 AM Exercise – Part 1 Instructor Comments
9:30 – 10:30 AM FBCs, Creativity and Constraints
FBCs are an architect’s license for creativity — when push comes to shove. Instructors will discuss what a code controls and what it doesn’t — creativity in the “street wall”, the difference between an FBC and design guidelines, FBCs and the design review process.
10:30 – 10:45 AM Break
10:45 – 11:15 AM 201-Level: Misconceptions and Misunderstandings
What is an effective hybrid code? Why do some planners think FBCs are too complicated? Is design review eliminated with an FBC? Is placemaking and Form-Based Coding a luxury your city cannot afford? Participants are invited to raise questions and concerns from their experience in working with form-based codes.
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Local Perspective on Form-Based Coding
FBCs have gained positive momentum in Florida as a legitimate alternative to Euclidean zoning. Regional examples of existing codes will be shared and discussed.
12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch on Your Own/ Informal Discussion with Instructors
1:00 – 1:45 PM Regulating Plans and Building Form Standards: Translating the Community Vision into a Regulatory Framework
How form-based regulations are applied to implement a community vision. Examples of different applications will be presented and discussed.
1:45 – 3:30 PM Exercise 2 — Creating a Regulating Plan
In this exercise participants will take the vision plan produced in Exercise 1 and begin to draft a form-based zoning code that provides clarity and flexibility while generating outcomes anticipated by the vision. Participants will learn how to extract the necessary information from a community vision and determine what to regulate and what not regulate.
3:30 – 3:45 PM Break
3:45 – 4:15 PM Exercise 2 Instructor Comments 
4:15 – 4:45 PM Summary and Wrap-up / Questions and Answers — All Instructors and Participants
4:45 PM End of Course


FBCI draws upon national experts, including urban designers and planners with broad experience in all aspects of form-based coding.

Susan Henderson

Susan Henderson is a founding Principal of PlaceMakers, LLC. She is Director of Coding and Design and oversees PlaceMakers’ design services, including Planning and Zoning. Susan graduated from Ball State University in 1985 with degrees in Architecture and Environmental Design and a minor in Honors Studies. She moved to Austin, TX to begin her career in architecture and planning. In 1996 Susan began to work with Mouzon & Associates in Huntsville, Alabama. A passion for vernacular architecture within the realm of walkable urbanism led her to co-found PlaceMakers, LLC as a vehicle to pursue this interest. For the last 13 years, the firm has led local governments and private developers in the pursuit of livable, equitable, sustainable communities. An active member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Susan is a participant in the CNU’s Charter Councils and Project for Code Reform. She serves on the Form-Based Codes Institute’s Board of Directors and is a founding board member of the Transect Codes Council. Susan is a member of the American Institute of Architects and is a LEED-AP.

 Geoff FerrellGeoffrey Ferrell is one of the originators of the modern practice of Form-Based Codes. His work ranges from site-specific urban designs to zoning-toolkits to replace Euclidean zones – development regulations that emphasize clarity for end-users. His experience with adopted municipal form-based codes goes back to 1991 with the Metropolitan Dade County Traditional Neighborhood Ordinance, and his experience includes the master plan & form-based code for the redevelopment of the Columbia Pike Corridor in Arlington, Virginia. His firm’s Form-Based Codes for the Farmers Branch, Texas, Station Area and Heart of Peoria Form-Districts in Peoria, Illinois, received the Richard Driehaus Form-Based Code Award in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Ferrell Madden’s work is featured in the books Form-Based Codes, The New Urbanism, and Retrofitting Suburbia

Joseph KohlJoseph Kohl has been practicing professionally with Dover, Kohl & Partners, based in Coral Gables, Florida, since 1987. His clients have taken him across the United States and around the world to create master plans and development regulations for existing neighborhoods and new communities. He has co-authored form-based codes for several Florida municipalities and for Hercules CA, Beaufort SC, Lemont IL, and Jeddah Saudi Arabia. He is a board member of the Form-Based Codes Institute and also serves as the organization’s treasurer. Joe has degrees in architecture and urbanism from Virginia Tech and the University of Miami.

To see all FBCI instructors, visit our instructors page

Registration Fees


Early Bird              $575
After April 9           $725


Early Bird               $495
After April 9          $625

FBC 301: Implementing and Administering Form-Based Codes will be offered in Clearwater in the Fall.  Registrants for FBC 201 will receive a discount for this class.

Click here to register 

Discounts will also available for large-group registrations.
Contact FBCI for more information.