Create Community Identity

Vibrant public life leads to strong community pride, economic success and cultural identity.


Use design elements that reflect the local context and create a sense of place that sets one district apart from another. Neighborhood identity gives residents pride in their community and provides visual cues for visitors.

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
A photo of a people walking a commercial plaza.
State Street, Santa Barbara, CA (Source: Flickr - La Citta Vita)
A photo of a filled patio seating at San Pedro Market.
San Pedro Square, San José, CA
A photo of a downtown area with a park and mid-size buildings.
Washington Park - Race Street and 12th Street, Cincinnati, OH (Source: Flickr - Travis Estell)

Public art often provides iconic landmarks, reflects community values and provides aesthetic opportunities to improve the public realm while cultivating a sense of place. Art can contribute to an authentic character that can come to define the unique essence of a place.

A photo of a row of light up rings that people can walk through.
Sonic Runway, San José, CA (Source: Flickr - Sergio Ruiz)
A photo of the Bean (Cloud Gate) in Chicago.
Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL (Source: Mark Condy)
A photo of a colorful mural on the side of a building.
Garlic Mural, Gilroy, CA (Source: Flickr - Sergio Ruiz)

Encourage local activities and community engagement as well as establishment of neighborhood and business associations. Recurrent programming such as food trucks, festivals, and farmers' markets, supports continual activation of the public realm.

A photo of an archway with the words "San Jose Sharks" in downtown San Jose.
San Pedro Street, San José, CA
A photo of a small grass lawn with picnic tables with market booths.
Flea Market, San José, CA (Source: Flickr - Sergio Ruiz)