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What Is DPD?

Development Pattern Districting

DPD is a more intuitive type of zoning that focuses neither on use segregation nor on building types, and it is gaining momentum in communities large and small. Under the DPD methodology, the menu of zones becomes extinct. Instead, each distinct district of the city is particularly regulated for the form and function of that district. It blends the 30,000 foot view of Euclidean zoning with the emphasis on experiential outcomes of form-based zoning.

As many communities part ways with traditional Euclidean zoning, they are shifting to experiential codes that focus on the relationship between the public and private realms, including the popular form-based code. These types of codes largely regulate building typologies, massing, placement and design.

Like Euclidean zoning, form-based codes rely on the establishment of a menu of zones. In form-based code parlance they are called “transect zones.” Unlike Euclidean zoning, transect zones are calibrated to the existing and desired built environment, which makes them a more effective tool for achieving desired specific outcomes.   

The DPD methodology brings together elements of Euclidean, form-based and character-based zoning and challenges us to think differently about how we zone the city. Rather than viewing cities as a patchwork of zones applied on a micro-level by street or lot, the DPD methodology views the city as a network of districts each with their own unique development patterns. Districts may include numerous blocks of different uses and building types that form the character of each district. The regulations applied to each district respect the unique development pattern while promoting desired outcomes within.  

"DPD is a recognition that cities are not a patchwork of individual zones, but rather are an interwoven network of unique districts each with their own distinct development patterns. These development pattern districts become the regulatory habitat for the properties within them, which allows regulations to be crafted based on the desired experience." - ​Sean Suder

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