PAS QuickNotes (QN) are plain-English briefing papers that explain planning basics for public officials and engaged citizens. Each QN offers a concise overview of a timely planning topic, plus links to more resources for further reading. APA members and PAS subscribers have access to all PAS QuickNotes in the QN Archive.

QuickNotes Archive

Latest Editions

Measuring Community Character

PAS QuickNotes No. 72

Community character refers to the distinct identity of a place. People often choose the places they live and spend their leisure time based—in part—on their perceptions of community character. Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to explain which characteristics are essential to their sense of place. This edition of PAS QuickNotes highlights the importance of identifying the key measurable qualities that contribute to perceptions of community character, and it suggests a small set of these measures grouped under three categories: urban form, natural features, and demographics.

Small-Lot Subdivision Design

PAS QuickNotes No. 71

Small-lot residential subdivisions can help communities make more efficient use of infill parcels and expand local housing choices, often increasing opportunities for home ownership. However, many contemporary zoning codes do not allow lots smaller than 5,000 square feet. This edition of PAS QuickNotes explains two distinct scenarios where cities and counties might consider making zoning changes to facilitate small-lot subdivisions and summarizes how site and building design can help residential development on small lots fit in with its surroundings.

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