Form Based Zoning: How to Apply Des Moines’ New Proposed Zone

APA Iowa Chapter


Thursday, July 25, 2019
7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. CDT

Des Moines, IA, United States

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The City of Des Moines is rolling out its first new zoning code since 1965.  Much has changed in Des Moines since those bell-bottom and Beetlemania days!  Join ULI Iowa to learn more about this form-based zoning code and how it will be applied to new development in our capitol city. 

Des Moines has utilized form-based zoning in some of its most beloved areas for a number of years, including Ingersoll, Drake and downtown.  Taking the form-based precedent citywide allows greater focus on physical form (rather than separation of uses).  This draft ordinance builds on the city’s urban qualities by preserving and enhancing the existing character of the City's neighborhoods; emphasizing urban design and quality development; enabling new housing types; and promoting higher densities along transit corridors and commercial nodes.  It aims to provide a more user friendly format and greater predictability in development for neighborhoods and developers.  


Mike Ludwig, Planning Administrator for the City of Des Moines, and his colleagues will present an overview of the new draft ordinance, then focus on demonstrations of the future review process by applying the proposed code to a couple of built projects.


 Attendees will learn about:

·        The principals of form based zoning

·        How form based zoning can apply locally through case studies of existing projects 

·        How the City of Des Moines has utilized PlanDSM for visioning, public outreach, planning, and development of the new zoning ordinance 


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Michael Ludwig, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Michael Ludwig, AICP, is the Planning Administrator for the City of Des Moines. Michael has over 25 years of experience in city planning, zoning, urban development, growth management, affordable housing and grant administration. Prior to moving to Des Moines in 2001, Michael held positions as the Planning Director for the ... Read More

Contact Info

Aimee Staudt,