A year ago, Apple’s sales of its iPhone and iPod Touch eclipsed 40 million units, confirming their potential to fundamentally retool our future opportunities and patterns of daily life.
Today, a year later, form-based codes hit a similar milestone, with similar implications, as over 330 cities and towns around the world — representing over 40 million people — have embraced the idea of form-based coding as an alternative to the sprawl-inducing zoning models of the past century.
One of the greatest selling points of the SmartCode, the DPZ-created version of a form-based unified development ordinance, has always been its customize-ability. First of all, it’s Transect-based, which immediately separates it from conventional codes that stamp out the same rules for development everywhere in the landscape. And since DPZ made it a free, open-source code, practitioners from everywhere can correct, refine, and amend it as conditions demand.
The latest, still-evolving version of the SmartCode, v10, takes flexibility to a new level with add-on modules that address everything from storm-water management to sprawl repair to aging in place. Comparisons to Apple’s iPhone applications strategy are inevitable. In fact, Arizona State grad student Dan Bartman (email: dbartman(at)asu.edu) is already doing SmartCode explainers in PowerPoint using an iPhone face and modules as app icons.
Andres Duany, founding principal of DPZ and author of the SmartCode calls the latest version “the single biggest change since the beginning.” Here’s how he explains it: