Form-based code – Part 2

Monday’s presentation on form-based code brought to light several glaring holes in the overall research. First and foremost we discovered that one major issue was overlooked in the presentation; that issue being: why are we researching form-based code, and why is it important to the City of Las Vegas? Along with this information gap we also discovered that minimizing the number of presentation boards is not always the best option. Because of the scope of information and the importance of understanding Las Vegas form-based codes, we have agreed to expand the presentation layout to include more diagrams and details for each transect type. Additionally, there were several observations provided by our peers regarding presentation content. Most peer feedback indicated that there is a need for more specific details about form-based code such as, allowable building height, thoroughfare types, frontage types, and sustainability measures.

Looking beyond form-based code, there was a lot of eye-opening information provided by peer presentations. Some of the more shocking facts that will guide us along the design process include the astonishing homeless population, and climate factors such as the severe wind and heat. It was also interesting to learn how the districts are laid out, and to which districts site one and two belong. The average income level of the community is also a major issue to be considered in this project. According to peer research, the average annual income of the zip code surrounding our sites is approximately $13,000. Figuring out how to execute a balanced redesign of downtown Las Vegas that responds to both the tourist economy, and those inhabiting this community will prove to be difficult. Some information gaps that still exist after the research presentations on Monday include the following:

What are the short and long-term economic goals for the redevelopment of downtown Las Vegas and how specifically do these goals affect site one and two?

How are sustainability measures currently being employed in sites one and two and what are the limitations of sustainable design in Las Vegas?

Are there additional buildings in sites one and two that should be considered for historical preservation?

What significant historical events impacted and continue to shape the neighborhoods located in the immediate vicinity of sites one and two?

What is the pattern of life in site 2? More specific /tailored demographic information for the area would be useful. What types of employment do members of these communities have? Are they commuting daily for work? What are primary and alternate means of transportation and are they effective?

What are the city rules and regulations on sign placement and appearance in locations other than the historic byway?

What precedents do we have of buildings that have effectively responded to character and climate?

By Friday we intend to redevelop and refine our research on form-based code in order to fill the above mentioned information gaps. These refined boards will be located on the Las Vegas Project page at I’m looking forward to seeing the revised research of my peers, and hopefully gaining more insight that will assist in answering the questions above.


Written by James

Las Vegas, NV & Form-based Code
36 Hour Charrette


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