Conventional land use regulations focus on separating land uses not shaping the urban form to create special places to live, work and play. The result are often sprawl, segregation of populations by income and ethnicity and the loss of appealing public spaces.  Car-oriented planning has eroded community life and inhibited the use of public transit, biking and walking.

Communities of all sizes want a better future. They seek a new kind of development regulation that can create great places, preserve historic neighborhoods and transform suburban commercial strips into places people love.

The FBCI Forum: Connecting Policy, Place & Practice, hosted by the Form-Based Codes Institute, will bring together experts, practitioners and advocates from across the land use and development disciplines to learn how they can use form-based zoning codes to create walkable, mixed-use, equitable communities.

Who Should Attend?

  • Local government planners and other city staff engaged in planning and development regulation
  • Planning and zoning commissioners, city councilors and other policy makers
  • Urban designers, architects, planning consultants and coders
  • Real estate developers and land use attorneys
  • Citizen planners, community-building advocates and those interested in learning about and sharing best practices

Why Should I Attend?

  • Learn how form-based codes create the framework for building great communities
  • Hear success stories from local government decision-makers and staff who have experience with form-based codes
  • Identify new ways to promote and understand form-based coding in your community
  • Exchange lessons learned and best practices with other professionals and advocates in the field


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Approval pending for APA credits. If you are interested in receiving credits, please contact Brendan O’Hara at bohara@formbasedcodes.org.

Click on the session title to learn more.

1:00 – 2:30 pm — Plenary Session/Welcome/Panel Discussion

Plenary Session

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Panel Discussion: The Why and How of Form-Based Codes
In this opening panel, representatives from a cross-section of land use and development disciplines — city planning, elected officials, real estate development, urban design, architecture – will discuss how form-based codes have evolved over the years to create good urbanism from in all kinds of places from rust-belt downtowns to upscale resort communities.

  • Moderator:
    • Lisa Wise, Lisa Wise Consulting
  • Panelists:
    • Chris Zimmerman, Smart Growth America
    • Geoff Ferrell, Ferrell Madden
    • Joe Kohl, Dover, Kohl & Partners
    • Inta Malis, Columbia Pike neighborhood leader
    • Nina Janopaul, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

2:45 – 4:00 pm — Breakout Sessions: Policy

Historic Preservation and FBCs
Many communities that place a high value on historic preservation have been leery of FBCs while others have embraced them for the benefits and protections they can offer. In this session, participants will learn how FBCs can help achieve preservation goals and where this has happened.

  • Moderator:
    • Carol Wyant, Pathfinder Consulting
  • Panelists:
    • Mary Madden, Ferrell-Madden
    • Tony Perez, Opticos Design
    • Victor Dover, Dover, Kohl & Partners
    • Vinyak Bharne, Moule & Polyzoides

Community Engagement – Getting Decision-Makers and Citizens on Board
Local planning staffs often cite the challenge of engaging decision-makers and citizens as their most significant obstacle to adopting an FBC.  In this session, city staff and local elected officials will discuss how they raise awareness and help citizens understand the benefits of form-based coding for their community.

  • Moderator:
    • Nancy Stroud, Lewis, Stroud & Deutsch, P.L.
  • Panelists:
    • Milt Herd, Herd Planning
    • Ana Gelabert, Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Gelabert-Sanchez & Associates
    • Kathy Galvin, City Council, Charlottesville, Virginia

FBCs and Economic Development
Place-making is essential for successful economic development and form-based codes concern much more than mere aesthetics. In fact, form-based coding enables communities to harnesses the power of a neighborhood-based economy and a sustainable region.   In this session, speakers will describe how communities leverage near term market forces to build economic value, without sacrificing flexibility and creativity over time.

  • Moderator: 
    • Brandon Palanker, GP Development
  • Speaker: 
    • Scott Polikov, Gateway Planning

4:00 – 5:30 pm — Networking Reception

Networking Reception

8:00 – 8:30 am — Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:30 am — Plenary Session: Urban Form and Healthy Communities

Urban form has a significant and direct impact on the health of a community.  In fact, according to the CDC, your zip code is a greater indicator of your overall health and life expectancy than your genetic code.  The ability to walk to work, stores and friends’ homes, the availability of green spaces to relax and recreate, and the safety and security of your surroundings all drive your health and wellness.  In this session, experts in the field will discuss how form-based codes can help to enhance the physical and social health of communities.

  • Moderator:
    • Marina Khoury, DPZ
  • Panelists:
    • Geoff Anderson, Smart Growth America
    • Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute

9:30 – 10:30 pm — Breakouts Sessions: Places

Downtown and Neighborhood Revitalization with FBCs
Downtowns and neighborhoods targeted for revitalization were almost invariably once vital, mixed-use, walkable urban landscapes, which local leaders seek to restore, even when new uses differ greatly from the original ones.  FBCs can support redevelopment by ensuring community engagement, expediting the approval process, providing developers reassurance that the surrounding area will be compatible and setting mixed-use, walkable urban standards.  Examples of how an FBC has spurred successful urban revitalization in several jurisdictions around the country will be discussed.

  • Moderator:
    • Marta Goldsmith, Form-Based Codes Institute
  • Panelists:
    • Roger Eastman, Lisa Wise Consulting
    • Jay Narayama, Livable Codes and Communities

Retrofitting the Suburbs
For fifty years, most residential and commercial development in the U.S. occurred in the suburbs. More recently, many historic downtowns have seen a renaissance in development and investment.  As a result, some suburban areas will need to be re-purposed and substantially redesigned.  Come learn how FBCs are being used to move this process forward.

  • Moderator:
    • Joe Kohl, Dover, Kohl & Partners

Form-Based Codes in Rural and Small Communities
FBCs are not just for cities and their inner ring suburbs.  Often rural areas and small towns – from  Daufuskie Island, SC to Bellevue, KY to Thompson Station, TN – will adopt an FBC in channel growth or maintain an historic or small town character.  In this session, presenters will discuss how FBCs can be used to make these areas more walkable, transit-friendly and vital.

  • Moderator: 
    • Susan Henderson
  • Speakers:
    • Andrew Blake, City of Ranson, WV
    • Paul Dreher, DreherDesign

10:45 am – 1:00 pm — Tour of Columbia Pike Form-Based Coding District

Columbia Pike – a 3.5-mile urban corridor immediately across the Potomac River from downtown Washington, DC – had seen little development over 30 years; so county leaders initiated a revitalization effort to bring economic development to the corridor through the creation of a form-based code to foster transit- and pedestrian-oriented infill redevelopment. The project also included a public participation urban design charrette and master plan. The code is an optional (or parallel) code, with all of the underlying zoning remaining in place, but includes incentives such as expedited review and approvals, to encourage its use.  Forum participants will tour the corridor, led by those who wrote and designed the code and led the county through its adoption and implementation.

1:00 – 1:45 pm — Lunch Break (On Your Own)

2:00 – 3:00 pm — Breakout Sessions: Practice

Maintaining Inclusiveness with Form-Based Codes
Form-Based Codes have a reputation for fostering gentrification.  In fact, they can be used to safeguard the physical character and diversity of a  community. Often planning for and drafting an FBC can provide an excellent opportunity to address affordability and spur the equitable redevelopment of urban neighborhoods, when married with other policies that ensure a diversity of incomes, ethnicity and uses.  Come learn how FBCs have helped to foster a more inclusive community in neighborhoods across the country, especially at a time when gentrification is an urgent issue.

How to Hire and Work with a Consultant
At some point in writing, adopting and implementing a form-based code, almost all localities seek out planning, zoning and/or design consultants.  Consultants offer support with civic engagement, code drafting, designing, implementing and updating.  But how do staff know when to bring in a consultant, how divide the work and what to expect?  In this session, consultants and public sector representatives will provide insights and answer questions about how to get the most out of your investment.

Project Review under FBCs
Many communities have implemented a FBC that requires simple review of projects by a town planner or code enforcement official. But other communities are deciding that, while it makes sense to use a FBC to prescribe some characteristics – e.g. size, bulk, height, lot placement, fenestration, and pedestrian amenities – review of individual projects may still be needed.   In this session, speakers will discuss how project reviews are used in concert with an FBC and what they might add to the character of the community, beyond what an FBC offers.

3:15 – 4:30 pm — Peer-to-Peer Roundtables

Invite attendees to suggest topics ahead of time and select from among those listed here and the ones suggested (up to 10 topics).  Tables will have a designated leader and note taker to capture ideas.  Examples of Peer-to-Peer

Topics include:

  • Teaching FBCs in Universities
  • How to Measure the Effects of FBCs
  • Amending and Updating FBC
  • New Zoning Software
  • Other Topics TBD

Vinayak Bharne, Director of Design, Moule & Polyzoides

Andrew Collins, Planner, City of Nashville, Tennsessee

Victor Dover, Founding Principal, Dover, Kohl & Partners

Geoff Ferrell, Principal, Ferrell Madden

Ana Gelabert- Sanchez, Design Critic, Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Principal, Gelabert-Sanchez & Associates

Kathleen Galvin, Councilor, City of Charlottesville, Virginia

Catherine Hartley, Director, Department of Planning and Community Development, Bradenton, Florida

Milton Herd, Founder and Owner, Herd Planning & Design

Susan Henderson, Principal, PlaceMakers, LLC

Jennifer Hurley, Principal, Hurley, Franks & Associates

Marina Khoury, Partner, DPZ Partners, LLC

Joe Kohl, Founding Principal, Dover, Kohl & Partners

Mary Madden, Principal, Ferrell Madden

Jay Narayana, Principal, Livable Plans and Codes

Leslie Oberholtzer, Principal, CodaMetrics

Brandon Palanker, Vice President, GP Development

Tony Perez, Director of Form-Based Coding, Opticos Design

Scott Polikov, Founder, Gateway Planning

Chris Riley, former City Council Member and Consultant, Austin, Texas

Nancy Stroud,Of Counsel, Lewis, Stroud & Deutsch, P.L.

Laura Voltmann, Senior Planner, Urban Design Commission, City of Fort Worth, Texas

Carol Wyant, President, Pathfinder Consulting

Lisa Wise, President, Lisa Wise Consulting

Chris Zimmerman, Vice President for Economic Development and Director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, Smart Growth America



Located just across the river from the nation’s capital in Rosslyn, Va., (1325 Wilson Blvd.), and conveniently situated near public transportation, parks and form-based code communities, the Hyatt Centric Arlington is the ideal location for the FBCI Forum. FBCI has booked a block of rooms at the reduced rate of $239.  Rooms sell out quickly so be sure to reserve your room soon!



Directions, including public transportation, parking and proximity to local airports, to the Hyatt Centric Arlington can be found at the link below.



Early Bird Registration for the 2017 FBCI Forum is now open! Early Bird Registration prices are the following:


  • $550 after October 1, 2017


  • $700 After October 1


The FBCI Forum is the perfect opportunity for organizations to raise awareness and create new partnerships as a Forum Sponsor. FBCI will work with each organization to customize sponsorship benefits to meet its needs.  Sponsorship opportunities range from $1,000 – $15,000, allowing each sponsor the chance to gain recognition, develop new networks, and engage with thought-leaders in the planning and land use community.

Click the button below to download a copy of the sponsorship packet. Contact Brendan O’Hara using the form or call at 202-644-8224 to learn more!