Form Based Code Assessments News

About the Project 

The City of Iowa City is working with a consultant to assess the Northside Neighborhood and South District to potentially implement Form Based Code, a tool used to implement "missing middle housing," which includes housing types in between single family homes and large apartment buildings like  duplexes, townhomes and other housing forms that can be integrated into a neighborhood. The project will result in an assessment and analysis of the Northside and South District, and recommendations on how and where a Form Based Code could be implemented. 

The project aims to further goals included in the City's recently adopted Comprehensive and South District Plans. Those plans aim to preserve and build on the success of walkable, central neighborhoods while also ensuring that new neighborhoods are designed to be safe, comfortable and walkable, and include a balanced mix of housing ranging from single family homes to duplexes, townhomes and apartments. ​

Over the next six to nine months, the City will work with Opticos Design, a consulting firm that specializes in planning and designing walkable, sustainable neighborhoods. 

Northside Neighborhood 

The City and Opticos Design are assessing the Northside Neighborhood for this project. It is an older, established neighborhood located north of downtown between Clinton and Governor Streets. Planners will focus on preservation and possibilities for change. 

South District 

The City and Opticos Design are also assessing the South District for this project. This area includes neighborhoods located south of Highway 6 and east of the Iowa River.​ Planners will build off of the work accomplished in the South District Plan and focus on future development in the new neighborhoods that will surround Alexander Elementary School as well as sustaining and improving existing neighborhoods. 

Assessment Presentation 

Opticos Design presented its assessments on Monday, July 24, which included recommendations from the draft final report and responses to feedback provided by the community during public visioning workshops held in February and May. Opticos Design has collaborated with TND Engineering and City staff over the last several months to generate the report. 

Visioning Workshops 

To kick-off the project, the City hosted two visioning workshops in February of 2017. One was held for the Northside and the other for the South District. During the events, residents and businesses provided feedback about what they'd like to see going forward in both areas. Presentation slides and videos from both workshops are available for viewing. 

The second set of workshops were held in May of 2017. The Northside will meet Wednesday, May 10 from 6-8 p.m. at Horace Mann Elementary and the South District will meet Thursday, May 11 from 6-8 p.m. at the Alexander Elementary School.

Northside Workshop Materials

South District Workshop Materials 

Submit Feedback

People can continue to submit feedback during the duration of this assessment. Ideas can be e-mailed to

Those with questions about the project should contact City of Iowa City Urban Planner Karen Howard at 319-356-5251 or e-mail