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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 Engineering & Finance Building
Learning Center — Fourth Floor
14 S. Ft. Harrison Ave.
Clearwater, FL
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 – 9:15 AM Welcome / Course Highlights / Introductory Discussion — Geoffrey Ferrell

Topics covered:  An introduction to the Form-Based Codes Institute.  Understanding the role of the regulatory framework in determining urban form; how form-based coding creates compact, walkable urban communities.  Why form matters.  Participants’ objectives and desired takeaways.  Coding issues in your community.

9:15-10:15 AM Urban Form Basics: Streets — Joseph Kohl

Topics covered:  How to create a planning framework for place-making.  The network, context, street types, and elements of the street cross-section. Overcoming barriers to healthy streets. Resources for creating great streets.

10:15-10:30 AM Break
10:30 – 11:30 AM Urban Form Basics: Streets/Street Space — Geoffrey Ferrell

Topics covered: The role of the physical neighborhood in healthy communities.  The basic building block of towns and cities: neighborhood center, interior and edge; mix of uses and the hierarchy, function and location for types of streets needed.

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM Urban Form Basics: Private Building Principles and Building Types — Susan Henderson

Topics covered: The role of buildings to form and protect private open spaces and frame public space; the palette of building types that make up a city.

12:15 – 1:00PM Lunch on Your Own/ Informal Discussion with Instructors
1:00 – 1:30 PM Urban Form Basics: The Urban Block — Geoffrey Ferrell

Topics covered:  How urban blocks define the physical structure of the places we inhabit.

1:30 – 2:15 PM Small-Scale Urban Design Examples: Street/Block/Building Scale
— All Instructors
Topics covered: Illustrating the urban form basics of private building principles, building types, street space configuration and street trees.
2:15 – 3:00 PM Large-Scale Urban Design Examples: Neighborhoods Comprising a City — All Instructors

Topics covered: Examples of how neighborhood centers, interiors and edges may be knit together successfully to create a city.

3:00 – 3:15 PM Break
3:15 – 5:15 PM Exercise One: Creating a Vision and Illustrative Plan — All Instructors

Topics covered:  This is the first of a two-part exercise that explores the fundamental process of form-based coding.  Instructions will work with class participants translate a community vision into form-based regulations. Class participants will learn how to create a vision and extract the necessary information to decide what to regulate and the degree of change needed to achieve the outcomes embodied in the community vision.


In this exercise, participants will create a Vision/Illustrative Plan for a set of urban blocks. The resulting plan will be the basis for Exercise Two, which will create a regulatory framework that will achieve the vision.

5:15 – 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 One Instructor Comments — All Instructors
9:30 – 10:30 AM FBCs : Creativity and Constraints — Geoffrey Ferrell and Susan Henderson

Topics covered:  What a code controls and doesn’t control, creativity in the “street wall,” and how it depends on the code you write — an FBC is not a design guideline.  FBCs and an architect’s license for creativity, when push comes to shove.

10:30 – 10:45 AM Break
10:45 – 12:00 PM Local Perspective on Form-Based Coding

Topics covered:  Form-based codes 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 – 12:45 PM Lunch on Your Own / Informal Discussion with Instructors
12:45 – 1:45 PM Regulating: Theory and Practice — Susan Henderson

Topics Covered:  How the neighborhoods and their subcomponents (streets, buildings and blocks) are assembled to create a coding map, today and in the future.

1:45 – 3:30 PM Exercise Two: Create / Choose Regulations — All Instructors

Topics covered:  Synthesizing and coding the fundamental elements that form the character of the streets.  This will include a discussion of street space and building form and function in three dimensions.

3:30 – 3:45 PM Break
3:45 – 4:15 PM Exercise Two Instructor Comments — All Instructors
4:15 – 5:00 PM Roundtable Discussion — All Instructors

Topics covered:  Broad theme of sustainability (environmental and economic). How form-based codes are used to promote walkable, mixed-use urbanism.  Sea-level rise.  Energy policy, tactical urbanism and return on investment for local governments.  Local questions and concerns.  “Parking lot” issues from throughout the course.  Looking ahead to FBC 301.

5:00 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.

Thanks to our great sponsors!