What's New
%Mate_Title% Where Am I? The Power of Uniqueness

What’s the value of uniqueness and community identity? That’s the question ULI analyst — and long-time Planning Commissioners Journal columnist — Ed McMahon addresses in his dynamic 17-minute TED Talk.

%Mate_Title% Part 4: How Form-Based Codes Are Written

by Mary Madden and Joel Russell

In this final part of their series, Mary Madden and Joel Russell discuss the vital relationship between the planning process and the development of a form-based code.

%Mate_Title% Part 3: Typical Elements of a Form-Based Code

by Mary Madden and Joel Russell

Our 4-part series on form-based codes continues with an overview of the typical elements of a FBC and how they enable it to shape public space and create walkable, pedestrian-friendly places.

%Mate_Title% Part 2: The Emergence of Form-Based Codes

by Mary Madden and Joel Russell

The concepts of “urban form” and “the public realm,” central to form-based codes, are absent from the conventional zoning vocabulary. A look at key differences between FBCs and traditional zoning.

%Mate_Title% Part 1: What Is a Form-Based Code?

by Mary Madden and Joel Russell

An introduction to the use of form-based codes — how they work and how they differ from conventional zoning. In Part 1: an overview of the origins of form-based zoning and its primary objectives.

%Mate_Keyword% %Mate_Title% Improving Your Planning Commission’s Effectiveness

If there were one thing that would most improve the effectiveness of your community’ planning commission, what would that be?

%Mate_Title% Strengthening the Planning Commission – Governing Body Relationship

We hear back from our survey respondents with ideas on how to strengthen the relationship between the planning commission and governing body.

%Mate_Title% Holding Effective Public Meetings

What are the most important things a planning commission or planning staff can do in order to hold an effective public meeting or hearing? Results from our survey.

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We asked our survey respondents a series of short “yes” / “no” questions on questions relating to what we’d call planning commission “dynamics.”


%Article_Title% %Mate_Title% Frequency & Duration of Planning Commission Meetings

We meet too often! We don’t meet often enough! Our meetings are too long! No, they’re too short! See what our survey respondents told us.

%Mate_Title% Most Important Skills for Planning Staff to Have

We asked professional planners what skills they’ve found most important in serving as a staff planner or planning director. A summary of what they told us.

%Mate_Title% A Backward Glance … A Forward Look

by Elaine Cogan

In her final column after a 23 year stint writing for the Planning Commissioners Journal and PlannersWeb, Elaine Cogan takes a look back … and forward … at what’s changed, and what has not.

%Mate_Title% Most Important Skills for Planning Commissioners to Have

We asked respondents who have served as planning commissioners what they’ve found to be the most important skills in serving on a planning commission.

The Secrets of Successful Communities
Read ULI analyst Ed McMahon's seven part series.
Basics of Putting Together a Comprehensive Plan
Take a look at this excellent series of articles by Jim Segedy & Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy.
Planner & Commissioner
Our 5-part series on the relationship between staff planners and planning board members.
Preparing Citizen Surveys
Noted survey expert Thomas Miller on how planners can put together an effective questionnaire of citizen attitudes -- and a look at some pitfalls to avoid. A four-part article.
An Introduction to Form-Based Codes
Joel Russell & Mary Madden of the Form-Based Codes Institute cover the basics of this new approach to zoning.
Building Your Local Economy

Planner Gwendolyn Hallsmith offers a progressive take on planning for local economic development in this five-part series starting with Coping With Economic Meltdown.

Also, take a look at our extended reprints from economic development planner Della Rucker's excellent book, The Local Economy Revolution.

Pro-Forma 101 – Getting Familiar With a Basic Tool of Real Estate Analysis
Ever wonder how a pro-forma is put together & what it is used for? This four-part article provides an easy to understand introduction.