downtown salt lake city skyline

Form-Based Codes 101: Downtowns

Downtowns are the historic center of most American cities. In this course, we will review their role in establishing the past and future character of the city, walking through a series of form-based code case studies across a range of scales and contexts.

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Course Info

  • Duration 8 video lessons (66 Mins)
  • Published Published
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Browse Course Chapters

  • 1. Introduction (1 min)
  • 2. History and Context (7 mins)
  • 3. Planning and Coding (12 mins)
  • 4. Case Study: South Miami, FL (4 mins)
  • 5. Case Study: Kendall, FL (8 mins)
  • 6. Case Study: Columbia, MO (11 mins)
  • 7. Case Study: Overland Park, KS (9 mins)
  • 8. Discussion (11 mins)

Course Description

In this course we will review the important role of downtowns, both philosophically and urbanistically. We will present a series of case studies that illustrate the common features of form-based codes for downtowns across a range of scales and contexts, as well as highlight some unique features related to their specific characteristics and complexity.

At the end of this course, you will understand the key considerations of a form-based code for a downtown context: What is the history of the downtown and the existing urban form and design characteristics. Based on that context and community aspirations, what is the vision and plan for future development? What are the coding implications of that plan?

Learn these skills

  • Development
  • Land Use
  • Pedestrian Planning
  • Regulations
  • Site Planning
  • Urban Design
  • Walkability
  • Zoning Codes


This course is approved for 1 AICP CM credit. 

View all courses available for CM credit.


This course is eligible for 1 PDH, LA CES/non-HSW.


This course is approved for 1 CNU-A credit.

Meet Your Instructor

Mary Madden

Mary Madden

Mary Madden has nearly 20 years of experience in the fields of urban planning and design, community development, and historic preservation at the federal, state, and local levels.

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Victor Dover

Victor Dover

Victor Dover is a town planner and urban designer with 29 years of leadership in the reform of planning, regulation and development.

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