Form-Based Codes Institute is pleased to announce the inaugural FBCI Forum, to be held in the Washington, D.C., area, October 11-12, 2017.  This inaugural Forum, with the theme of Connecting Policy, Place & Practice, brings together representatives from the planning, land use and real estate development disciplines, in the public and private sectors, to learn about trends and innovations and to share best practices for form-based codes.

The Forum—geared to attendees at different points on the learning curve—covers a broad range of topics enabling public and private professionals to learn how form-based codes (FBCs) have been adopted and implemented in a wide variety of places across the country, and what the results have been.  The gathering also will provide a platform where a cross-section of practitioners can come together to share best practices, network and move the form-based code dialogue forward.


Who Should Attend?

  • Local government planning officials and other city staff engaged in planning and development
  • Planning and zoning commissioners and other policy makers
  • Urban designers, architects, planning consultants and coders
  • Real estate developers, land use attorneys and others from the private sector
  • Others interested in learning about and sharing best practices relating to form-based codes

Why Should I Attend?

  • Learn the latest trends and results in form-based coding
  • Hear from local government decision-makers and staff who have experience with FBCs
  • Identify new ways to promote and understand form-based coding in your community
  • Exchange lessons learned and best practices with other professionals in the field


1:00 – 2:30 pm Plenary Session
  Welcome and Opening Remarks
  Panel Discussion: The Why and How of Form-Based Codes
2:45 – 4:00 pm Breakout Sessions – Policy
  Community Engagement – Getting Decision-Makers and Citizens on Board
  Historic Preservation and FBCs
  FBCs and Economic Development
4:00 – 5:30 pm Networking Reception

8:00 – 8:30 am Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 9:15 am Plenary Session:   Urban Form and Healthy Communities
9:30 – 10:30 pm Breakouts Sessions – Places
  Downtown and Neighborhood Revitalization with FBCs
  Retrofitting the Suburbs
  Rural to Urban Transitions
10:45 am – 1:00 pm Tour of Columbia Pike Form-Based Coding District
1:00 – 1:45 pm Lunch Break (On Your Own)
2:00 – 3:00 pm Breakout Sessions: Practice
  Maintaining Inclusiveness with Form-Based Codes
  How to Hire and Work with a Consultant
  Project Review under FBCs
3:15 – 4:30 pm Peer-to-Peer Roundtables

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

1:00 – 2:30 pm    
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.

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.

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.

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.

4:00 – 5:30 pm   
Networking Reception

Thursday, October 12, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 am  
Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:15 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.

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.

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 repurposed and substantially redesigned.  Come learn how FBCs are being used to move this process forward.

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.

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 characterand 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, ethnicities 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



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!