The Codes

This section provides sources for further research on historical urban codes. We welcome your suggestions for additional material to include.

To help you in your research, we have compiled:

1. a bibliography of codes-related research
2. a collection of “leads” – codes we have read about, but that we currently have very little information on.

If you have any information on one of these leads, or know of additional sources or leads that should be included, please send us an email! (


Research about codes I – primary sources and/or references with explicit discussion of historical codes

Alberti, Leon Battista. 1988. (original 1452). De re aedificatoria. On the art of building in ten books. (translated by Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, and Robert Tavernor). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Armstrong, E. 1900. The Sienese Statutes of 1262. The English Historical Review, V. 15, No. 57

Arntz, K. 2002. Building regulation and the shaping of urban form in Germany. Working Paper no. 85, School of Planning and Housing, University of Central England.

Ayers, J. 1998. Building the Georgian City. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Babcock, R.F. 1980. The spatial impact of land use and environmental controls. In A.P. Solomon, Ed., The Prospective City. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Pp. 264-287.

Ben-Joseph, Eran, and Terry S. Szold, eds.  2004.  Regulating Place: Standards and the Shaping of Urban America.  New York: Routledge.

Ben-Joseph, Eran. 2005. The Code of the City: Standards and the Hidden Language of Place-Making. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Beresford, M. W. 1967. New Towns of the Middle Ages: town plantation in England, Whales, and Gascony. Prager: New York.

Blackstone, William. 1768. Vol. 3, Commentaries on the Laws of England. Lonang Institute,

BOCA International, Inc. 2002. BOCA at 87: A Retrospective. The Code Official September/October.

Brady, Joseph and Simms, Anngret, eds. 2001.“Dublin and the Wide Streets Commission.” In Dublin Through Space and Time. Four Courts Press.

Braunfels, Wolfgang. 1990. Urban Design in Western Europe: Regime and Architecture, 900-1900. Translated by Kenneth J. Northcott. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Brown, Glenn. 1900. History of the United States Capitol. Washington: De Capo Press.

Bucher, Francois. 1973. Review of Marvin Trachtenberg’s The Campanile of Florence Cathedral, “Giotto’s Tower.” Art Bulletin, 55, pg. 290.

Carmona, Mathew, Stephen Marshall, and Quentin Stevens. 2006. Design codes: Their use and potential. Progress in Planning 65, 4: 209-289.

Cognat, Segolene and Jean-Michel Roux. 2002. Legislation, Regulation and Urban Form in France: From the Ancien Regime to the Present. Working Paper series, no. 87, International Seminar on Urban Form. Birmingham, UK: The University of Central England.

Davis, Howard. 1999. The Culture of Building. New York: Oxford University Press.

Evenson, Norma. 1979. Paris: A Century of Change, 1878-1978. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA). 1935. Underwriting Manual. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Ford, G. 1917. Building Zones: A Handbook of Restrictions on the Height, Area, and Use of Buildings, with Especial Reference to New York City. New York: Lawyers Mortgage Company.

Gallion, Arthur B. and Simon Eisner. 1983. The Urban Pattern: City Planning and Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Girouard, Mark. 1985. Cities & People: A Social and Architectural History. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Hakim, Besim and Zubair Ahmed. 2006. Rules for the built environment in 19th century Northern Nigeria. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 23, 1: 1-26.

Hakim, Besim. 1986. Arabic-Islamic Cities: Building and Planning Principles. London: Kegan Paul.

Hakim, Besim. 2008. Meditteranean urban and building codes: origins, content, impact and lessons. Urban Design International 13: 21-40; Palgrave Macmillan: London.

Hakim, Besim. 2007. Generative processes for revitalizing historic towns or heritage districts. Urban Design International 12: 87-99; Palgrave Macmillan: London.

Harmondsworth .1967. “Town Planning Scemes in 1666.” In London, the Unique City. Rasmussen, S.E. (ed.) MIT Press: Cambridge.

Harvey, Thomas. 2007. Sienna and Sustainability: City and Country in Tuscany. A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. N. 20.

Hinnenbusch, W. A. 1966. The History of the Dominican Order, 2 vols. Staten Island, N.Y. 1966-1973.

Hook, Judith. 1979. Siena: A City and Its History. Hamilton: London.

Hubbard, T.K. and H.V. Hubbard. 1929. Our Cities, Today and Tomorrow: A Study of Planning and Zoning Progress in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kistemaker, R.E. 2000. The public and the private: Public space in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam. In Arthur K. Wheelock and Adele R. Seeff, Eds., The Public and Private in Dutch Culture of the Golden Age, University of Delaware Press. Pp. 17-23. Translation by Wendy Shattes.

Konvitz, Josef. 1978. Cities and the Sea: Port City Planning in Early Modern Europe. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Kostof, Spiro. 1991. The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. Bulfinch Press.

Kostof, Spiro. 1991. The City Shaped. London: Thames & Hudson, Ltd.

Kostof, Spiro. 1992. The City Assembled. London: Thames & Hudson, Ltd.

Larkham, P.J. 2001. Regulation and the shaping of urban form in the UK. Working Paper no. 83, School of Planning and Housing, University of Central England.

Logan, Thomas H. 1976. The Americanization of German Zoning. Journal of the American Planning Association 42, 2: 377-385.

London Building Act, 1894

Miller, Naomi. Renaissance Bologna: A Study in Architectural Form and Content. Peter Lang, New York: 1989, pg. 30.

Morris, A.E.J. 1979. History of Urban Form Before the Industrial Revolutions. London: George Goodwin. Pp. 1-18.

Morris, Marya. 2009. Smart Codes: Model Land-development Regulations. Chicago: APA's Planning Advisory Service.

Mumford, Lewis. 1961. The City in History: Its Origins, its Transformations, and its Prospects. New York: Harcourt Brace & World.

Natoli, S.J. 1971. Zoning and the development of urban land use patterns. Economic Geography 47: 169-184.

Parliament Legislation Database

Rasmussen, S. E. .1967. “Town Planning Schemes in 1666” in London: The Unique City. MIT Press: Cambridge.

Reps, John. 1965. The Making of Urban America: A History of City Planning in the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Reps, John. 2002. Bastides: New Urbanism in 13th Century France. Transcript of presentation to Council IV, Santa Fe, NM, October 18.

Saalman, Howard. 1959. Early Renaissance Architectural Theory and Practice in Antonio Filarete’s Trattato di Architettura, The Art Bulletin, V. 41, N. 1.

Scott, Mel. 1969. American City Planning Since 1890. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Simpson, Michael. 1985. Thomas Adams and the Modern Planning Movement: Britain, Canada and the United States, 1900-1940. London: Alexandrine Press.

Southworth, Michael and Eran Ben-Joseph. 2003. Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Spenser, John R .1958. Filarete and Central-Plan Architecture. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, V. 17, N. 3 (Autumn).

Sundt, Richard A. Mediocres domos et humiles habeante fraters nostril: Dominican Legislation on Architecture and Architectural Decoration in the 13th Century. 1987. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 46, N. 4, December, 349-407.

Thomas, Harvey. 2007. Sienna and Sustainability: City and Country in Tuscany. a Journal of the Build and Natural Environments. N. 20.

Trachtenberg, Marvin. 1974. The Campanile of Florence Cathedral, “Giotto’s Tower.” New York University Press.

Unwin, Raymond. 1909. Town Planning in Practice: An Introduction to the Art of Designing Cities and Suburbs. London: T. Fisher Unwin.

Waller, P. J. 1983. Town, City, and Nation: England, 1850-1914. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wheelock, Arthur K. 2000. The Public and Private in Dutch Culture of the Golden Age. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press.

Williams, Frank Backus. 1919. Akron and its Planning Law. Akron, OH: Akron Chamber of Commerce.

Younson, A. J. 1967. The Making of Classical Edinburgh, 1750-1840. University Press: Edinburgh.

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Research about codes II – indirect sources of interest for codes research

Adams, Thomas. 1935. Outline of Town and City Planning: A Review of Past Efforts and Modern Aims. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Advisory Committee on Zoning. 1926. A Zoning Primer. Washington: Government Printing Office.

Alexander, C., Neis, H., Anninou, A., King, I. 1987. A New Theory of Urban Design. New York: Oxford University Press.

Banham, Reyner. 1967. Theory and Design in the First Machine Age. London: The Architectural Press.

Booth, P. 1989. How effective is zoning in the control of development? Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 16: 401-415.

Cherry, Gorden. 1970. The Town Planning movement and the late Victorian City. The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

Dahir, J. 1947. The Neighborhood Unit Plan. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Dowall, D.E. 1984. The Suburban Squeeze. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Duany, Andres and Emily Talen. 2002. Transect Planning. Journal of the American Planning Association 68, 3: 245-266.

Fogelson, Robert M. 2005. Bourgeois Nightmares: Suburbia, 1870-1930. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Gilderbloom, J. I. and Appelbaum, R. P. 1988. Rethinking Rental Housing. Temple University Press: Pennsylvania.

Jacobs, Allan. 2002. General Commentary. In Todd W. Bressi, Ed., The Seaside Debates: A Critique of the New Urbanism. New York: Rizzoli International. Pp. 136-152.

Jacobs, Jane. 1961. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage Books.

Katz, Peter. 2004. Form first. Planning, November. Pp. 16, 18.

Krieger, Alex. 1991. Towns and Town-Making Principles. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Krier, Rob. 2003. Typological and morphological elements of the concept of urban space. In Cuthbert, Alexander R, Designing Cities: Political Economy and Urban Design. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp. 323-339.

Levine, Jonathan. 2005. Zoned Out: Regulation, Markets, and Choices in Transportation and Metropolitan Land-Use. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.

Macdonald, Elizabeth. 2005. Suburban Vision to Urban Reality: The Evolution of Olmsted and Vaux’s Brooklyn Parkway Neighborhoods. Journal of Planning History 4:4: 295-321.

McMillen, D. P. and J.F. McDonald. 1990. A two-limit tobit model of suburban land-use zoning. Land Economics 66: 272-282.

Mehaffy, Michael. 2008. Generative methods in urban design: A progress assessment. Journal of Urbanism 1, 1.

Mumford, Lewis. 1968. The Urban Prospect. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Panerai, P., Castex, J., Depaulle, J.C., Samuels, I. 2004. Urban Forms: The Death and Life of the Urban Block.

Parolek, Daniel G., Karen Parolek and Paul C. Crawford. 2008. Form Based Codes: A Guide for Planners, Urban Designers, Municipalities and Developers. New York: Wiley.

Patricios, Nicholas N. 2002. Urban design principles of the original neighbourhood concepts. Urban Morphology 6, 1: 21-32.

Pendall, R. 1999. Do land use controls cause sprawl? Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 26, 4: 555-571.

Perry, Clarence. 1939. Housing for the Machine Age. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Pogodzinski, J.M. and T.R. Sass. 1991. Measuring the effects of municipal zoning regulations: a survey. Urban Studies 28: 597-621.

Relph, E. 1987. The Modern Urban Landscape. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Robinson, Charles Mulford. 1901. The Improvement of Towns and Cities or The Practical Basis of Civic Aesthetics. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Rybczynski, Witold. 1989. Architects must listen to the melody. The New York Times, September 24, 1989.

Sennett, Richard. 1970. The Uses of Disorder: Personal Identity and City Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Sies, Mary Corbin, and Christopher Silver, Eds. 1996. Planning the Twentieth Century American City. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Talen, Emily and Gerrit Knaap. 2003. Legalizing Smart Growth: An Empirical Study of Land Use Regulation in Illinois. Journal of Planning Education and Research 22, 3: 345-359.

Urban, Florian. 2004. Recovering Essence through Demolition: The “Organic” City in Postwar West Berlin. JSAH. V. 63, N. 3, September, pg. 354-369.

Weiss, Marc. 1987. The Rise of the Community Builders: The American Real Estate Industry and Urban Land Planning. New York: Columbia University Press.

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United Kingdom

Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1809, 1926

Parliamentary Enclosure Movement (c. 1750-1850)—conversion of open fields into modern checkerboard pattern

From Panerai et al., Urban Forms: The Death and Life of the Urban Block:

  • The Metropolitan Board of Works, The Metropolitan Association, organizations charged with slum improvements and social housing construction (1859-1890)
  • 1910, International Exhibition of City Planning
  • London’s Metroland, growth nodes (TODs?) promoted by railway company (pg. 34)

From Gordon, The Town Planning Movement and the Late Victorian City:

  • Labouring Classes Lodging Houses Act 1851
  • Artisans and Labourers Dwellings/Improvement Act 1868, 1875
  • Torrens Act 1866 (owner responsibility for conditions)
  • Cross Acts 1975 (demolition and reconstruction)
  • Joseph Chamberlain’s Corporation Street 1876
  • Public Health Act 1875

Dublin—Wide Streets Commission, 1756—widen existing streets and encourage new ones to be wider, Dublin Corporation request, abolished with the Dublin Improvement Act 1849…see: Brady, Joseph. (2001) “Dublin and the Wide Streets Commission.” Doublin: Through Space and Time.

Edwardian New Towns:

Newton—conference of planners in Harwich, Jan. 1297
Berwick, chartered in 1302
Winchelsea, chartered in 1278

Medieval England:

Norwich, England—Chartered by Richard I in 1194

The Burgs of Wallingford and Nottingham—see, D. Lobel (ed.) The British Atlas of Historic Towns (1961)

Danish Boroughs, established after the Treaty of 878: Darby, Lincoln, Leicester, Stamford, Nottingham

Hull, 1541, Henry VIII

From Morris, History of Urban Form:
Settlement pattern control—an “Old English law” says it is illegal to establish a market within 6 2/3 mi. of an existing market

Grosvenor Square, 1799—R. Horwood’s plan of London

Pleasure/Health Towns of the 18th/19th Century such as Bath (Bean Nash)

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The Florentine Republic—town building program, 1280-1310—Referenced in Florentine New Towns: Urban Design in the Late Middle Ages (1988)

Livorno, Tuscany, Italy (16th century) planned by Bernardo Buontalente

Reggimento of the Commune 1206, 1287

Scamozzi, Vincenzo: The Mirror of Architecture or The Wing (?) Utopian treatise on how to build cities.

Siena (especially the Campo de Siena)…
Sienese Communal Statutes (Constituto): Lodovico Zdekaur, 1262
Sienese Communal Statutes (Constituto): Lisini, 1309-1310

Sienese Communal Statutes (L’Ultimo Statuto): Ascheri, 1990s (?)
Sienese Communal Statutes (Viari): Ciampoli and Szabo, 1990s (?)
Referenced in: Girourd, Cities and People, pg. 126

Vigevano, Milan, 1492—Duke Ludovic the Moore (il Moro) commissions Bramante to construct the Vigevano piazza using the 1:3 construction proportions advocated by Filarete, Referenced in: Girourd, Cities and People

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The Zahringer Foundations, 1122 (Referenced in Morris, The History of Urban Form); included regulations on market thoroughfares (15-100 ft wide, running the length of town gates); orthogonal geometry (grid-iron) with harmonic proportions (2:3 and 3:5); public buildings separate from main street; fortress at corners, side wall

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Richelieu, Indre-et-Loir (1631), by Cardinal Richelieu and architect Jaques Lamercier…walled, grid, ornamental moat, in order to settle quickly there were no taxes but a requirement that plots would be developed in 2 yrs using the cardinal’s architects following “specific rules” (what were they?)

Paris Regulations of 1600s—series of ordinances to prevent city from growing beyond walls, king granted “right of compulsory acquisition of property without compensation”
The Place des Vosges, Plan of Paris (1940) Referenced in: Girourd, Cities and People, pg. 225

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The Netherlands

Amsterdam: Plan of Three Rings, Daniel Stolpaert, 1607

From Panerai et al, Urban Forms The Death and Life of the Urban Block:

  • (pg. 53) municipal interventions—land grants to build plans by the municipal architect, acquisition of land to halt speculation and control property market, 99 year leases
  • (pg. 60) Woningwet, Law on Housing, 1901—established development plans, taking of land for redevelopment and social housing, building through social housing association

From Morris, History of Urban Form:

  • Dordrecht 1271—government can acquire land for new moat, owners paid “fair amount”
  • Leiden 1386—compulsory acquisition of lands for fortification, with compensation
  • Alkmaar 1558—compulsory for construction of new market square, compensation paid by the landowners that would reap the benefits of the improvements

Amsterdam, port city planning:

From Girourd, Cities and People, pg. 161:

  • 1615: canal district lots created for “beautiful houses for rentiers and other rich people,” industrial uses and shops forbidden, plots 30 ft wide (10 ft wider than customary), speculators would buy two adjacent plots and develop them as three 20 ft lots and middle class ended up populating
  • 1660 extension canal district the opposite happens, speculators buy three 20 ft plots and develop them as two 30 ft plots (why?), warehouses not forbidden

From Josef Konvitz, Cities and the Sea: Port-city Planning in Early Modern Europe:

Simon Stevin, author of Het Burger Leven (The Civic Life, 1590) and De Stercktenbouwing (The Art of Fortification, 1594)

  • studied port cities, ideas were a fusion of practicality and utopia
  • planned cities to account for growth

See also: Crone, Ernest et al., The Principal Works of Simon Stevin

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