Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Committee Member

Robert Dorgan, Chair

Second Committee Member

Kevin Kemner

Third Committee Member

Glen NP Nowak

Graduate Faculty Representative

Robert Futrell

Number of Pages



I have come to believe that the core of our declining physical, mental and community health dwells in the current practice of land use based development. Although today's land use codes began as a legitimate response to protect people's health and welfare it has since devolved into an unsustainable process. The failure of land-use zoning is rooted in an informational disconnect created by the segregation of land into distinct uses while offering generic design standards. Whereas the current mode of land use-based zoning results in an unpredictable physical form, Form-Based Codes foster a connection between the individual to the available networks of public space and circulation in a language that is commonly understood. The urban process has gone from prescriptive traditional responses to proscriptive regulations.

The solution may well in an evolving development process exemplified by the recent discoveries made in self-organizing systems and emergent networks. I propose that we pick up the discussion where Jane Jacobs's left off more than forty years ago in the final chapter her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities , and look at the type of problem that urban development poses. It is my belief that there is a regulatory process available that can exceed the expectations of a sustainable urban environment. The core of this thesis is to explain how the Form-Based Code process is founded upon a self-organizing cycle of self-educating individuals who make positive contributions to urban development.

My chosen methodology begins with a general explanation of the typical Form-Based Code and the ways in which this regulatory process is adopted. This is followed by a brief examination of what constitutes a complex system and the common techniques of analyzing how it works. The tools for complex systems analyses are then applied the Form-Based Code process to illustrate its inherent self-organizing strength.


Building laws; City planning; Land use; Urban; Sustainable urban development; Zoning


Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies and Planning

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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