Case Studies (Development and Built Form)

San José, CA, USA – Santana Row Development

Santana Row is a residential, shopping, dining, and entertainment district built around a main street in San Jose, California. The 18-acre development includes at least 680,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants, 1,200 dwelling units, two hotels, seven parks, and office spaces. Located across from a regional shopping mall and adjacent to several Frequent VTA bus lines, the development often closes roadways to vehicle access for Farmer’s Markets and other seasonal events. The project was designed to have residential and retail uses coexist within the same building footprint and utilizes pedestrian-scale design. Many restaurants have outdoor seating that enhances pedestrian safety paired with shops that have awnings and plentiful outdoor seating to make the area feel welcoming.

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 of a walkway under a building with shops on the side and people sitting at tables on the other side on a sunny day
Santana Row, San José, CA
Photo of people walking in front of a smaller restaurant building with people sitting outside with a lot of landscaping on a sunny day
Santana Row, San José, CA
Photo of people walking between shops and tropical plants
Santana Row, San José, CA

Seattle, WA, USA - University District Urban Design Guidelines

The Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development undertook a four-year strategic partnership between the community, city, and the University of Washington to plan for a vibrant transit-oriented University District neighborhood. The design guidelines were updated to provide design guidance that reflects changes in the neighborhood since 2000 when the design guidelines were originally developed, includes direction recommended by neighborhood stakeholders, and provides guidance in the application of new development standards adopted as part of legislation for the 2017 University District rezoning project. The legislation allows greater height and density in the core of the neighborhood, applies development standards to help new buildings fit into the neighborhood context, implements affordable housing and open space requirements, and creates incentives for childcare, historic preservation, and street improvements.

The design guidelines are used by the Design Review Board along with Citywide Design Guidelines in reviewing proposed projects in the University Community Urban Center to foster design excellence in new multifamily and commercial projects. For more information, visit

Photo of a sidewalk between colorful shops and raised landscaping and bistro tables
University District - Seattle, WA (Source: Flickr - Sage Ross)
Photo of a fountain in a shopping center with bistro tables and trees nearby
University District - Seattle, WA (Source: Flickr - Sage Ross)