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FBC 201: Placemaking With Form-Based Codes in Columbus, Ohio


FBC 201: Placemaking With Form-Based Codes in Columbus, Ohio

Wednesday and Thursday, June 28-29, 2017

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
111 Liberty Street, Suite 100
Columbus, OH 43215

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.


The Westin Columbus
310 S High St
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 228-3800

The Hilton Columbus Downtown
401 N High St
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 384-8600

The Hyatt Regency Columbus
350 N High St
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 463-1234

Hampton Inn & Suites Columbus
501 N High St
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 559-2000


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, June 28, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 AM Light Breakfast and Registration
8:30 – 9:15 AM Welcome / Course Highlights / Introductory Discussion

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 

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 

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 

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 

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
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 

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 

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, June 29, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 AM Light Breakfast
8:30 – 9:30 AM Exercise One Instructor Comments
9:30 – 10:30 AM FBCs : Creativity and Constraints 

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 Ohio 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 

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 

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 

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.


Tony Perez has over 25 years of public and private sector experience with a focus on organizing and writing specific plans and master plans. In the past 12 years, Tony has prepared or co-authored over thirty form-based codes. His recent work in California includes the Fremont Center City Code, the Fresno Downtown Code, the Vallejo Citywide Code, and the Tehachapi Citywide Code. He also worked on Santa Ana’s Transit Zoning Code, which won the 2012 Driehaus Form-Based Codes Award. Prior to entering the private sector in 2000, Tony served as city planner for several California cities, in roles that included redevelopment staff for three main street revitalization projects. Tony is fluent in urban design and architecture, enabling him to extract information and direction out of a community vision and to ask important questions of designers and stakeholders in the process. Tony is Director of Form-Based Coding at Opticos Design, Inc.

 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.

To see all FBCI instructors, visit our instructors page

Registration Fees


Early Bird              $575
After June 9          $725


Early Bird              $525
After June 9          $625

Register here

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

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

Thanks to our sponsors!