Case Studies (Clarifying Design Expectations)

Orlando, FL, USA - Traditional City Design Standards

The City of Orlando created design standards for three large infill developments around the downtown area. According to the City of Orlando web page, the goals of the standards are the “establishment of a spatially coherent and identifiable sense-of-place through complete neighborhoods, development of compact and clearly identified communities built around sets of neighborhoods, a mixed use of land, equal consideration to all modes of transportation, and establishing civic spaces for social interaction and community building.” Design standards are provided for a variety of uses including residential, neighborhood convenience retail, and office uses in several different areas, including residential, commercial, and mixed-use districts. These standards focus on the scale, façade material, roof styles, orientation of the building, and pedestrian accessibility. For more information, visit the City of Orlando's Residential Development Standards Guide.

Design Guidelines
Policy & Implementation
The Role of Local Government & Transit First Policies
Guiding Principles of Land Use
Flexible Zoning Strategies
Street Design Implementation
Revising Transportation Analysis Practices
Transportation Demand Management
Rethinking Vehicle Parking Requirements
Parking Management
Best Practices to Attract Successful Developers
Clarifying Design Expectations
Integrating Retail into Transit Oriented Development
Community Planning for Rail Transit
Additional Resources
Photo from above of many buildings in downtown Orlando at night
Downtown Orlando, FL (Source: Russ Sanderlin)

Austin, TX, USA - Smart Growth Matrix

To streamline the review process, give a clear sense of development expectations, and provide a financial incentive for Smart Growth, the City of Austin (Texas) created a matrix that evaluates development on several predetermined criteria including the design of new developments. Projects that score highly on the evaluation receive a variety of fee reductions and financial incentives such as infrastructure investments by the City. Not only does Austin put its money where its vision is, but it also reduces regulatory uncertainty and provides developers with a clear sense of the city’s vision for growth and development. (Information on the Smart Growth Index can be found at

Graphic showing the Smart Growth Criteria Matrix
Smart Growth Criteria Matrix (Source: City of Austin)