Form-Based Codes Case Studies

Issues Addressed:
Housing Costs Housing Options Infrastructure Redevelopment

Keene, NH

In 2021, Keene adopted a new Land Development Code, which recodified the whole of the City’s zoning and uses form-based elements in the Downtown Area.
An excerpt from Keene’s Land Use Code, using form-based elements in downtown districts. (Image via City of Keene)

Dover, NH Downtown Form-Based Code

With the first FBC adopted in New Hampshire in 2009, Dover has garnered several awards for the effort, which has spurred redevelopment in the downtown.

Lancaster, NH

The largely rural town of Lancaster adopted a form-based code for their downtown in 2014. The form-based approach grew from the community’s recognition that their old conventional zoning code would not allow development in line with the historic character of downtown, nor would it provide needed community space.

Littleton, MA

The largely rural town of Littleton has a population of 10,000 and sits on the outskirts of Greater Boston, near I-495. In 2020, the Town adopted an FBC to spur development in its Village Common. The FBC followed recommendations from the Town’s master plan and a Village Common District Plan.
An excerpt from Littleton, MA’s Village common Form-Based Code. (Image via Utile.)

Standish, ME

The Town of Standish was the first community in Maine to adopt an FBC in 2011. It is designed to address village development in a rural community.
  • Standish’s FBC
  • Main Biz, “Form-based codes | A new zoning philosophy gets a toehold in Standish.” (July 25, 2011)

Lowell, MA

First adopted in 2004 and amended in 2006, the primary goal for the City’s FBC is to address urban infill development.

Fort Worth, TX

This FBC aimed to balance historic preservation and incentivizing new development. The code includes three transects for the historic district (a National Register of Historic Places), a transition district, and an edge district. In addition to the FBC, the project provided design guidelines that could shape development in more detail without being mandatory, as well as a one-page guide for using the code.

Burlington, VT

The City adopted a master plan for the downtown and waterfront area that recommended an FBC-based approach. The City Council adopted an FBC in 2017 and followed up with streetscape standards in 2018.