HOME » Background & Trends » Types of Zoning Codes
 Types of Zoning Codes

There are two main approaches to contemporary zoning: Euclidean Zoning Codes and Form-Based Zoning Codes. These two approaches create different patterns of development/results based on their goals

Our current zoning code is a Euclidean code, Miami 21 is a Form-Based code. 

  Download a print version of this page


Euclidean Zoning Codes

A type of zoning named for the Village of Euclid, Ohio where zoning was upheld in 1926 as a legitimate governmental power under the police powers of government. The zoning ordinance of Euclid, Ohio was challenged in court by a local land owner on the basis that restricting use of property violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Though initially ruled unconstitutional by lower courts, the zoning ordinance was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. (1926). In this way, Euclidean Zoning set forth a legal precedent on regulating the use of land in the United States. Euclidean zoning codes are based on the earliest comprehensive ordinances and the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act (1922). They are characterized by establishing and regulating land based on use. Typical types of land-use districts in Euclidean zoning are: residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial. Euclidean Zoning is also referred to as “Traditional Zoning” or “Building Block Zoning.”

Elements of a Euclidean Code:

   Regulations and Atlas: A plan and map of the regulated area indicating the type of allowed activities and regulations
     Special district regulations that address each problem individually
     Special exceptions, Class II permits, MUSP (Major Use Special Permits)
     Overlay districts
   Administration.  Application and lengthy project review process

Goals of Euclidean Zoning:
   Reduction of density and the prevention of the illegal overcrowding of land (goal was a reaction to the historical conditions of cities)
   Separation of uses based on size, height, noise, pollution, parking requirements as only urban goals

   Suburban sprawl
   Bedroom communities
  Automobile-dependent, unsustainable development patterns characterized by: long commuting distances, more trips per day for daily tasks, environmentally degrading, large streets built only for cars, lack of public places, separation of industry outside the city
   Excess parking
   Extreme, often unnatural, segregation of uses
   Necessary creation of Special Districts to address areas which require mixed uses or other zoning configurations outside the standard “uses”



Form-Based Zoning Codes

Form-Based Zoning Codes are a method of regulating development to achieve a specific urban form. Form-based codes place an emphasis on the relationship between the street and buildings, pedestrian and vehicles, public and private spaces, and the relationship between multiple buildings, a block, a neighborhood and transitions in scale. They create a predictable public realm by controlling physical form of private developments, with a secondary focus on land use regulations.

Elements of a Form-Based Code:
  Regulation Plan and Atlas. A plan or map of the regulated area indicating the type of allowed activities and regulations
   Building Form Standards. Regulations controlling the configuration, features, and functions of buildings that define an interaction between the public and private realm to create comfortable spaces for people
    Public Space/Street Standards. Specifications for the elements within the public realm (e.g., sidewalks, travel lanes, street trees, street furniture, etc.)
   Administration. A clearly defined application and project review process
   Definitions. A glossary to ensure the precise use of technical terms  

Goals of Form-Based Zoning:
   Mixed-use activities within buildings and blocks of the city—that are walk-able distances of offices and residences
   Promote walk-ability through a greater emphasis on the pedestrian spaces
   Promote transit by establishing nodes of greater intensity concentrations

   Zoning areas with greater intensity
   Mixed-use zones
   More transitional zones created by emphasis placed on form rather than use.
  A more predictable physical result based on prescriptive (state what you want) rather than proscriptive standards (state what you don't want)
   A zoning code that is pro-active rather than re-active
   Codes and regulations that are easier to read for citizens and are more predictable



For more information on Form-Based Codes, please visit: The Center for Applied Transect Studies and The Form-Based Code Institute 



Differences between Euclidean Codes & Form-Based Codes


   Euclidean Codes segregate uses where Form-Based Codes stress the importance of mixed-use areas.
   Because Form-Based Codes are prescriptive (they state what you want), rather than proscriptive (what you don't want), form-based codes  (FBCs) can achieve a more predictable physical result.
   Form-based codes are pro-active, rather than re-active. Form-Based codes are much shorter, more concise, and organized for visual access and readability.
   This feature makes it easier for non-planners to determine whether compliance has been achieved.
   FBCs work well in established communities because they effectively define and codify a neighborhood's existing structure and promote compatible infill with ease. Euclidean zoning focuses on and regulates use, ignores design and human scale.
   Euclidean zoning codes regulates use and deemphasizes concerns for design and human scale. 

  About Us|FAQ|Project Timeline|Glossary of Terms|Contact Us |Press Room  
Print this Article Print this Page Send to a Friend Send to Friend bookmark this page Bookmark this page bookmark this page Home Disclaimer Privacy Your City, Your Plan 
Email: Planning@miamigov.com
© Copyright 2010 City of Miami Planning and Zoning Department All rights reserved.
444 SW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33130 Tel. (305)416-1400 Fax: (305)416-2156