New Urbanism and SmartCode from Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative, LLC.

TPUDC Clients

The Town Company LLC
South Main Development

South Main River Park (Buena Vista, CO)
Jed Selby & Katy Selby

Breakaway Land Company LLC
(Asheville, NC)
Steve Martin

Dale Martin LLC
Nova Corner
(South Daytona, FL)

APEX Development Services LLC
The Meadows

(Buena Vista, CO)

Ridgeview Development LLC
Chimney Rock

(Birmingham, AL)

Steve & Pam Kulback Residence
(Rosemary Beach, FL)

The Trotman Company LLC
Matthew's Glen
(Montgomery, AL)

Bell's Landing Group LLC
Bell's Bend

(Nashville, TN)

EXG Development
Marana Town Center

(Marana, AZ)

Signature Homes
Fox Valley

(Shelby County, AL)

City of Pass Christian Mississippi
Pass Christian, MS

SmartCode Charrette
(Pass Christian, MS)

Wakefield Development Company

Bell's Landing Group, LLC
Bell's Bend

(Nashville, TN)

New Urban Codes Collaborative, LLC
SmartCode Pro Sessions

The Westervelt Company
(Tuscaloosa, AL)
Tom Chambers & Michael O'Neal

Hard Bargain - Mt. Hope Redevelopment Inc.
Hard Bargain Revitalization Plan
(Franklin, TN)
Chris Ude, President


New Urbanism Terminology

Affordable Housing: dwellings consisting of rental units or for-sale units. Both shall be economically within the means of the equivalent of the starting salary of a local elementary school teacher.

Allee: a regularly spaced and aligned row of trees usually planted along a Thoroughfare or Pedestrian Path.

Ancillary Unit: an apartment not greater than 600 square feet sharing ownership and utility connections with a Principal Building. An Ancillary Unit may or may not be within an outbuilding. Ancillary Units do not count toward maximum density calculations.

Apartment: a dwelling unit sharing a building and a lot with other dwellings and/or uses. Apartments may be for rent or for sale as condominiums.

Avenue (AV): a thoroughfare of high vehicular capacity and low speed. Avenues are short distance connectors between urban centers. Avenues may be equipped with a landscaped median. Avenues become collectors upon exiting urban areas.

Backbuilding: a single-story structure connecting a principal building to an outbuilding.

Bicycle Lane (BL): a dedicated bicycle lane running within a moderate-speed vehicular thoroughfare, demarcated by striping.

Bicycle Route (BR): a thoroughfare suitable for the shared use of bicycles and automobiles moving at low speeds.

Bicycle Trail (BT): a bicycle way running independently of a high-speed vehicular thoroughfare.

Block: the aggregate of private lots, passages, rear lanes and alleys, circumscribed by thoroughfares.

Block Face: the aggregate of all the building facades on one side of a block. The Block Face provides the context for establishing architectural harmony.

Boulevard (BV): a thoroughfare designed for high vehicular capacity and moderate speed. Boulevards are long-distance thoroughfares traversing urbanized areas. Boulevards are usually equipped with slip roads buffering sidewalks and buildings. Boulevards become arterials upon exiting urban areas.

Brownfield: an area previously used primarily as an industrial site.

Building Configuration: the form of a building, based on its massing, private frontage, and height.

Building Disposition: the placement of a building on its lot.

Building Function: the uses accommodated by a building and its lot. Functions are categorized as Restricted, Limited, or Open, according to the intensity of the use.

Building Height: the vertical extent of a building measured in stories, not including a raised basement or a habitable attic. Height limits do not apply to masts, belfries, clock towers, chimney flues, water tanks, elevator bulkheads and similar structures. Building Height shall be measured from the average grade of the enfronting thoroughfare.

Building Type: a structure category determined by function, disposition on the lot, and configuration, including frontage and height.

By Right Permit: a proposal for a building or community plan that complies with this code and may thereby be processed administratively, without public hearing.

CLD: Conservation Land Development, Clustered Land Development. An incomplete neighborhood, standing free in the countryside. Because of a location away from transportation, CLD has a weak commercial center. This is the only Community type permitted by Right in the Restricted Growth Sector. (Syn: Hamlet, Cluster)

Civic: the term defining not-for-profit organizations dedicated to arts, culture, education, recreation, government, transit, and municipal parking.

Civic Building: a building designed specifically for a civic function. Civic Buildings shall not be subject to the requirements of Article 5. The particulars of their design shall be determined by Variance.

Civic Parking Reserve: parking structure or lot within a quarter-mile of the site that it serves. Space may be leased or bought from this Reserve to satisfy parking requirements.

Civic Space: an outdoor area dedicated for public use. Civic Space types are defined by the combination of certain physical constants including the relationship between their intended use, their size, their landscaping and their enfronting buildings.

Commercial: the term collectively defining workplace, office and retail functions.

Common Destination: an area of focused community activity defining the approximate center of a Pedestrian Shed. It may include without limitation one or more of the following: a Civic Space, a Civic Building, a Commercial center, a bus stop. A Common Destination may act as the social center of a Neighborhood.

Community Type: a category defining the physical form of a settlement. The three basic Commmunity Types addressed in this Code are CLD, TND, and RCD/TOD. The choice of Community Type will depend upon the regional Sector, level of urban intensity desired, particulars of the site, transportation, and implementation.

Consolidated Review Committee (CRC): usually part of the Planning Office, a CRC is comprised of a representative from each of the various regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the permitting of a project, as well as a representative of the UDC or DDC. See Section 1.4.3.

Context: surroundings made up of the particular combination of elements that create specific habitat.

Corridor: a lineal geographic system incorporating transportation and/or greenway trajectories. A transportation corridor may be a lineal urban Transect Zone.

Cottage: an edgeyard building type. A single-family dwelling, on a regular lot, often shared with an ancillary building in the rearyard.

Courtyard Building: a building that occupies the boundaries of its lot while internally defining one or more private patios.

Curb: the edge of the vehicular pavement detailed as a raised curb or flush to a swale. The Curb usually incorporates the drainage system.

DDC: Design and Development Center. See UDC.

Density: the number of dwelling units within a standard measure of land area, usually given as units per acre.

Design Speed: is the velocity at which a thoroughfare tends to be driven without the constraints of signage or enforcement. There are four ranges of speed: Very Low: (below 20 MPH); Low: (20-25 MPH); Moderate: (25-35 MPH); High: (above 35 MPH). Lane width is determined by desired design speed.

Developable areas: residual to the Preserved Open Sector.

District: see Special District.

Driveway: a vehicular lane within a lot, usually leading to a garage. A Driveway in the First Layer may be used for parking if it is no more than 18 feet wide, thereby becoming subject to the constraints of a parking lot.

Edgeyard Building: a building that occupies the center of its lot with setbacks on all sides.

Elevation: an exterior wall of a building not along a Frontage Line. See: Facade.

Enfront: to place an element along a frontage line, as in "porches enfront the street."

Entrance, Principal: the main point of access of pedestrians into a building.

Estate House (Syn.: Country house, Villa): an edgeyard building type. A single-family dwelling on a very large lot of rural character, often shared by one or more ancillary buildings.

Facade: the exterior wall of a building that is set along a Frontage Line (see Elevation; Frontage Line).

Frontage Line: those lot lines that coincide with a public frontage. Facades along Frontage Lines define the public realm and are therefore more regulated than the elevations that coincide with other Lot Lines.

GIS (Geographic Information System): a computerized program in widespread municipal use that organizes data on maps. Various municipal departments can input information including the location of wetlands, thoroughfares, water/sewer lines, boundaries, building footprints, schools, zoning, land-use, etc. GIS makes information available as layered databases. The protocol for preparing a Sector Plan should be based on GIS information.

Greenfield: a project planned for an undeveloped area outside the existing urban fabric. See Infill.

Greenway: an open space corridor in largely natural conditions which may include Trails for bicycles and pedestrians.

Greyfield: an area previously used primarily as a parking lot. Shopping centers and shopping malls are typical Greyfield sites.

Growth Sector: one of the three Sectors for New Communities or the Infill Sector, where development is permitted by right.

Hamlet: see CLD.

Home Occupation: non-retail commercial enterprises permitted in Zones T3-6. The work quarters should be invisible from the frontage, located either within the house or in an outbuilding. Permitted activities are defined by the Restricted Office category.

House (Syn.: Single): an edgeyard building type. A single-family dwelling on a large lot, often shared with an ancillary building in the rearyard.

Independent Building: a building designed by a different architect from the adjacent buildings.

Infill: a project within existing urban fabric.

Inside Turning Radius: the curved edge of a thoroughfare at an intersection, measured at the inside edge of the vehicular tracking. The smaller the Turning Radius, the smaller the pedestrian crossing distance and the more slowly the vehicle is forced to make the turn.

Long Pedestrian Shed: a Pedestrian Shed of 1/2 mile radius used for mapping community types when a transit stop (bus or rail) is present or proposed as the Common Destination. People have been shown to walk ten minutes to transit. See Pedestrian Shed.

Layer: a range of depth of a lot within which certain elements are permitted.

Linear Pedestrian Shed: a Pedestrian Shed that is elongated along an important Commercial corridor such as a main street. The resulting shed is shaped like a lozenge. (Sometimes called an Elongated Pedestrian Shed.)

Liner Building: a building specifically designed to mask a parking lot or a parking garage from a frontage. A Liner Building, if less than 30 feet deep and two stories, shall be exempt from parking requirements.

Live-Work: a fee-simple dwelling unit that contains a Commercial component anywhere in the unit. (Syn.: Flexhouse.) (See Work-Live.)

Lodging: premises available for daily and weekly renting of bedrooms. The area allocated for food service shall be calculated and provided with parking according to retail use.

Lot Line: the boundary that legally and geometrically demarcates a lot (see Frontage Line). Such lines appear graphically on Community and Site Plans. Codes reference lot lines as the baseline for measuring setbacks.

Lot Width: the length of the principal Frontage Line of a lot.

Manufacturing: premises available for the creation, assemblage and/or repair of artifacts, using table-mounted electrical machinery and including their retail sale.

Meeting Hall: a building available for gatherings, including conferences. It should accommodate at least one room equivalent to a minimum of 10 square feet per projected dwelling unit within the pedestrian shed in which the meeting hall is located. A Meeting Hall shall be completed upon the sale of 75% of the dwelling units. The Meeting Hall may be used for the marketing purposes of the development until the sale of 75% of the dwelling units, at which time control of its use shall be given to the [Community Council].

Mixed Use: multiple functions within the same building through superimposition or adjacency, or in multiple buildings within the same area by adjacency. Mixed use is one of the principles of TND development from which many of its benefits are derived, including compactness, pedestrian activity, and parking space reduction.

Neighborhood: an urbanized area at least 40 acres that is primarily Residential. A Neighborhood shall be based upon a partial or entire Standard Pedestrian Shed. The physical center of the Neighborhood should be located at an important traffic intersection associated with a Civic or Commercial institution.

Net Developable Area, Net Site Area: the developable areas of a site. The Net Site Area shall be allocated to the various Transect Zones according to the parameters in Table 14A.

Office: premises available for the transaction of general business but excluding retail, artisanal and manufacturing uses.

Open Sector: one of the two Sectors where development is not permitted.

Outbuilding: an accessory building, usually located towards the rear of the same lot as a Principal Building. It is sometimes connected to the principal building by a Backbuilding. Outbuildings shall not exceed 600 square feet of habitable space, excluding parking areas.

Parking Structure: a building containing two or more stories of parking. Parking Structures shall have Liner Buildings at the first story or higher.

Passage (PS): a pedestrian connector passing between buildings, providing shortcuts through long blocks and connecting rear parking areas to frontages. Passages may be roofed over.

Path (PT): a pedestrian way traversing a park or rural area, with landscape matching the contiguous open space. Paths should connect directly with the urban sidewalk network.

Pedestrian Shed: an area, approximately circular, that is centered on a Common Destination. A Pedestrian Shed is applied to determine the approximate size of a Neighborhood. A Standard Pedestrian Shed is 1/4 mile radius or 1320 feet, about the distance of a five-minute walk at a leisurely pace. It has been shown that provided with a pedestrian environment, most people will walk this distance rather than drive. The outline of the shed must be refined according to actual site conditions, particularly along Thoroughfares.The Common Destination should have the present or future capacity to accommodate a T5 Transect Zone for TND and a T6 Zone for RCD. A Long Pedestrian Shed is 1/2 mile radius or 2640 feet, and may be used for mapping when transit is present or proposed. (Sometimes called a “walkshed” or “walkable catchment.”) A Linear Pedestrian Shed is elongated to follow a Commercial corridor. See Standard, Long, or Linear Pedestrian Shed.

Planter: the element of the public streetscape which accommodates street trees. Planters may be continuous or individual.

Primary-Secondary Grid: thoroughfare designations appearing on the Regulating Plan. Buildings on the P-Grid are subject to all of the provisions of this Code. Buildings on the S-Grid are exempt from certain provisions, allowing for Warranted open parking lots, unlined parking decks, drive-throughs and hermetic building fronts.

Principal Building: the main building on a lot, usually located toward the frontage.

Private Frontage: the privately held layer between the frontage line and the principal building facade. The structures and landscaping within the Private Frontage may be held to specific standards. The variables of Private Frontage are the depth of the setback and the combination of architectural elements such as fences, stoops, porches and galleries.

Public Frontage: the area between the curb of the vehicular lanes and the Frontage Line. Elements of the Public Frontage include the type of curb, walk, planter, street tree and streetlight.

Rear Alley (AL): a vehicular driveway located to the rear of lots providing access to service areas and parking, and containing utility easements. Alleys should be paved from building face to building face, with drainage by inverted crown at the center or with roll curbs at the edges.

Rear Lane (LA): a vehicular driveway located to the rear of lots providing access to parking and outbuildings and containing utility easements. Rear lanes may be paved lightly to driveway standards. Its streetscape consists of gravel or landscaped edges, no raised curb and is drained by percolation.

Rearyard Building: a building that occupies the full frontage line, leaving the rear of the lot as the sole yard. This is a more urban type, as the continuous facade spatially defines the public thoroughfare. For its residential function, this type yields a rowhouse. For its commercial function, the rear yard can accommodate substantial parking.

RCD or Regional Center Development: a Community Type based upon a partial or entire Long Pedestrian Shed, oriented toward a strong Town Center. With transit existing or proposed, it is called TOD (Transit-Oriented Development).The minimum developable area of an RCD/TOD is 160 acres. This Community Type is permitted by right within the G-3 Intended Growth Sector (see Section 3.3.3) and the G-4 Infill Growth Sector (see Section 4.3.2) RCD/TOD may be adjoined without buffers by one or several Standard Pedestrian Sheds that meet the individual Transect Zone requirements of an RCD as specified in Tables 2 and 14A.

Residential: premises available for long-term human dwelling.

Retail: premises available for the sale of merchandise and food service.

Retail Frontage Line: Frontage Lines designated on a Community Plan that require the provision of a Shopfront, causing the ground level to be available for retail use.

Road (RD): a local, rural and suburban thoroughfare of low vehicular speed and capacity. Its public frontage consists of swales drained by percolation and a walking path or bicycle trail along one or both sides. The landscaping consists of multiple species composed in naturalistic clusters. This type is allocated to the more rural Transect Zones (T1-T3).

Rowhouse: a single-family dwelling that shares a party wall with another of the same type and occupies the full frontage line (Syn: Townhouse; see Rearyard Building).

Rural Boundary Line: the extent of potential urban growth as determined by existing geographical determinants. The rural boundary is permanent.

Secondary Grid: see Primary-Secondary Grid.

Sector: a neutral term for a geographic area. In the SmartCode there are six specific Sectors that establish the legal boundaries for several kinds of development. Two Sectors represent unbuildable open space (Preserve and Reserve) and the other four are Urban Growth Sectors of varying intensity (Restricted, Controlled, Intended and Infill Growth Sectors). Sectors address the legal status of place at the regional scale while Transect Zones address the physical character of communities. Sectors contain Community Types (CLD, TND, RCD, TOD), which contain Transect Zones, which contain design standards appropriate to those T-Zones.

Service Boundary Line: the extent of potential or feasible urban growth as determined by the extension of infrastructure, principally sewer.

Setback: the area of a lot measured from the lot line to a building facade or elevation. This area must be maintained clear of permanent structures with the exception of: galleries, fences, garden walls, arcades, porches, stoops, balconies, bay windows, terraces and decks (that align with the first story level) which are permitted to encroach into the Setback.

Shared Parking Policy: an accounting for parking spaces that are available to more than one function. The requirement is reduced by a factor, shown as a calculation. The Shared Parking ratio varies according to multiple functions in close proximity which are unlikely to require the spaces at the same time.

Sideyard Building: a building that occupies one side of the lot with a setback to the other side.

Sidewalk: the paved layer of the public frontage dedicated exclusively to pedestrian activity.

Specialized Building: a building that is not subject to Residential, Commercial, or Lodging classification. Most specialized buildings are dedicated to manufacturing and transportation, and are distorted by the trajectories of machinery.

Special District (SD): Special District designations shall be assigned to areas that, by their intrinsic function, disposition, or configuration, cannot conform to one of the six normative Transect Zones or four Community Types specified by this Code. Typical Districts may include large parks, institutional campuses, refinery sites, airports, etc.

Standard Pedestrian Shed: an area, approximately circular, that is centered on a Common Destination. A Pedestrian Shed is applied to determine the approximate size of a Neighborhood. A Standard Pedestrian Shed is 1/4 mile radius or 1320 feet, about the distance of a five-minute walk at a leisurely pace. It has been shown that provided with a pedestrian environment, most people will walk this distance rather than drive. The outline of the shed must be refined according to actual site conditions, particularly along thoroughfares. (Sometimes called a “walkshed” or “walkable catchment.”) See Pedestrian Shed.

Story: a habitable level within a building of no more than 14 feet in height from finished floor to finished ceiling. Attics and raised basements are not considered stories for the purposes of determining building height.

Streamside Corridor: the zone within which a waterway flows, its width to be variably interpreted according to the Transect Zone.

Street (ST): a local urban thoroughfare of low speed and capacity. Its public frontage consists of raised curbs drained by inlets and sidewalks separated from the vehicular lanes by a planter and parking on both sides. The landscaping consists of regularly placed street trees. This type is permitted within the more urban Transect Zones (T4-T6).

Streetscape: the urban element that establishes the major part of the public realm. The streetscape is composed of thoroughfares (travel lanes for vehicles and bicycles, parking lanes for cars, and sidewalks or paths for pedestrians) as well as the visible private frontages (building facades and elevations, porches, yards, fences, awnings, etc.), and the amenities of the public frontages (street trees and plantings, benches, streetlights, etc.).

Streetscreen: sometimes called Streetwall. A freestanding wall built along the frontage line, or coplanar with the facade, often for the purpose of masking a parking lot from the thoroughfare. Streetscreens [should] be between 3.5 and 8 feet in height and constructed of a material matching the adjacent building facade. The streetscreen may be a hedge or fence by Warrant. Streetscreens shall have openings no larger than is necessary to allow automobile and pedestrian access. In addition, all streetscreens over [4 feet] high should be [30%] permeable or articulated to avoid blank walls.

Substantial Modification: alterations to a building that are valued at more than 50% of the replacement cost of the entire building, if new.

TDR - Transfer of Development Rights: a method of relocating existing zoning rights from areas to be preserved as open space to areas to be more densely urbanized.

TDR Receiving Area: an area intended for development that may be made more dense by the purchase of development rights from TDR Sending Areas.

TDR Sending Area: an area previously zoned for development within the designated Reserved Open Sector (O2). The development rights assigned to this land may be purchased for TDR Receiving Areas. The sending areas, voided of their development rights, are re-allocated to the Preserved Open Sector (O1).

Terminated Vista: a location at the axial conclusion of a thoroughfare. A building located at a Terminated Vista designated on a Community Plan is required to be designed in response to the axis.

Third Place: a private building that includes a space conducive to unstructured social gathering. Third Places are usually bars, cafés, and corner stores.

Thoroughfare: a vehicular way incorporating moving lanes and parking lanes within a right-of-way.

Tier: synonym for Sector.

TND or Traditional Neighborhood Development: a Community Type based upon a Standard Pedestrian Shed oriented toward a Common Destination consisting of a mixed-use center or corridor, and having a minimum developable area of 80 acres. This Community Type is permitted by right within the G-2 Controlled Growth Sector, the G-3 Intended Growth Sector (see Section 3.3.2) and the G-4 Infill Growth Sector (see Section 4.3.2). A TND may be comprised of a partial or entire Standard Pedestrian Shed or more than one Standard Pedestrian Shed. (Syn.: Village, Urban Village).

TOD: Transit-Oriented Development. TOD is Regional Center Development (RCD) with transit available or proposed. This Community Type is permitted by right within the G-3 Intended Growth Sector and G-4 Infill Growth Sector.

Town: RCD. A Community Type consisting of at least one Long Pedestrian Shed with a strong mixed-use center, or more than one TND sharing a center.

Town Center: the mixed-use center or main Commercial corridor of a community. A Town Center in a hamlet or small TND may consist of little more than a meeting hall, corner store, and main civic space. A Town Center for RCD or TOD communities may be a substantial downtown Commercial area, often connected to other Town Centers by transit.

Townhouse: syn. Rowhouse. (See Rearyard Building.)

Transect: a system of ordering human habitats in a range from the most natural to the most urban. The SmartCode is based upon six Transect Zones which describe the physical character of place at any scale, according to the density and intensity of land use and urbanism.

Transect Zone (T-Zone): Transect Zones are administratively similar to the land-use zones in conventional codes, except that in addition to the usual building use, density, height, and setback requirements, other elements of the intended habitat are integrated, including those of the private lot and building and the enfronting public streetscape. The elements are determined by their location on the Transect scale. The T-Zones are: T1 Natural, T2 Rural, T3 Sub-Urban, T4 General Urban, T5 Urban Center, and T6 Urban Core.

Transition Line: a horizontal line spanning the full width of a facade, expressed by a material change or by a continuous horizontal articulation such as a cornice or a balcony.

Type: a category determined by function, disposition, and configuration, including size or extent. There are community types, street types, civic space types, etc. (See also: Building Type.)

UDC (Urban Design Center): a component of the Planning Office assigned to advise on the use of this Code and to aid in the design of the communities and buildings based on it.

Urban Growth Boundary: the extent of potential urban growth as determined by the projected demographic needs of a region. The urban boundary may be adjusted from time to time.

Urban Village: a TND Community Type within an urbanized area. See: TND.

Variance: a ruling that would permit a practice that is not consistent with either a provision or the Intent of this Code (Section 1.2). Variances are usually granted by the Board of Appeals in a public hearing.

Village: a Village is usually a TND Community Type standing isolated in the countryside, but with a stronger center than a hamlet due to its proximity to a transportation corridor. See: TND.

Warrant: a ruling that would permit a practice that is not consistent with a specific provision of this Code, but is justified by its Intent (Section 1.2). Warrants are usually granted administratively by the CRC.

Work-Live: a fee-simple mixed-use unit with a substantial Commercial component that may accommodate employees and walk-in trade. Therefore the unit shall require ADA compliance for accessibility. (Syn.: Live-With.) (See Live-Work.)

Credit: Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company

< Back to the Homepage

New Urbanism and SmartCode from Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative, LLC.