The Economic Case for Form-Based Codes
As many communities across the US look to Form-Based Codes (FBCs) as an alternative policy tool to segregated land-use zoning, increased research seeks to understand their impact beyond the physical built environment. FBCs have received both criticism and praise by academics, lawmakers, and citizens for desired or resultant social and economic effects. However, there are limits to what FBCs can and should control as a policy tool, and as each iteration is created uniquely for a given area, the intent and principles that form the basis of that code are, potentially, more influential on the repercussions experienced than the type of code employed. As such, criticisms and praise are often wrongly ascribed to FBCs. There is little research to determine the scope of misunderstanding surrounding FBCs and the varied players involved in their implementation. Additionally, as modern FBCs are still relatively new as implemented policy governing the built environment, examples of mature development formed under their direction, or academic studies of the resultant social and economic effects of those developments, are few. This gap in knowledge allows for the continued dissemination of misleading information attributed to FBCs, both positive and negative. Using a mixed-method approach, I will perform a comparative economic analysis of mature developments formed under both conventional segregated land-use zoning and FBCs in Kendall, Florida. This analysis will aid lawmakers in making evidenced-based decisions for community economic development and will help inform planners and government officials of clarifications needed during the participatory process.