Lessons From Nashville Trip

Last week marked the fifth trip Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls has organized to see the results of form-based codes in Nashville, TN. This time, Kevin Wright and David Heyburn of the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation covered the trip for their members and our readers via a steady stream of tweets and Facebook posts had people on the trip tweeting about it as it happened. If you haven’t read it, be sure to check it out.

Nashville has had form-based codes on the books for several years - long enough to see some results - while the City of Cincinnati is just coming to the point of doing the public design workshop that sets the direction for the codes. Because of that, over 70 Cincinnatians traveled to Nashville to see the results first-hand and talk to Nashville planners and developers about their experiences.

If you were able to follow the Twitter feed last week, you learned these lessons right along with the attendees, but here are a few things Nashville has learned about form-base codes, as reported by Kevin and David:

  • Don't use the term "form-based code," because nobody cares about "FBCs," they care about the vision behind it.
  • Form-Based Codes provide PREDICTABILITY.
  • Form-Based Codes are successful when the community helps realize the vision
  • You need three documents, covering orientation of buildings, street amenities, and diagrams of building form.
  • While conventional zoning tends to be "one size fits all," form-based code is tailored to the neighborhood and site.
  • From 2003 to 2011, Davidson County (containing Nashville) experienced a rise of 27.8 percent taxable property value, while those areas with form-based codes in place experienced almost triple that: 75.4 percent.
  • The form-based code design workshop engages the community at the "front end," before development happens, rather than in reaction to a proposed development.
  • Form-based codes can also work in a suburban setting, as Nashville's Lenox Village shows.
  • Several other, more urban neighborhoods include Hill Center, Hope Gardens, Germantown, and The Gulch.
  • Lenox Village was intentionally marketed towards suburban residents who seek an alternative development pattern.
  • One obvious difference with Lenox Village is that front doors greet the street, not garage doors.
  • "Married with children" only represents about 23 percent of American households.
  • Younger college graduates want to live in places where they don't need a car.
  • Lenox Village allows for "granny-flats" or "bounce-back rooms" - provision for secondary households often forbidden by conventional zoning.
  • Folks who may have initially been afraid of "density" have thrived in Lenox Village.
  • Lines of buildings make a street attractive, not streets of cars.

And last, but certainly not least:

  • Dogs love form-based codes!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.