Urban Center Design Guide Released

As part of Chester County’s commitment to design quality in its built environment, the Planning Commission issued a new design guide for the county’s Urban Center Landscapes. As designated on the county’s Landscapes map, Urban Center Landscapes encompass the county’s 15 boroughs, the City of Coatesville, and portions of neighboring townships that have Urban Center Landscape characteristics.

The purpose of this guide is to:

  • Foster new development that is compatible with community and historic character;
  • Protect residential neighborhoods from adverse impacts;
  • Encourage walkability and alternative modes of transportation;
  • Improve the environment; and
  • Guide appropriate development.

Specifically, the guide is focused on locations in Urban Centers where new development is most likely to occur. These include downtown areas, underutilized non-residential properties, older industrial properties, and parking lots.

The guide consists of two sections based on the planning principles and design elements established for the Urban Center Landscape vision in Landscapes3, Chester County’s comprehensive plan. Under the planning principles section, the community value of each principle is discussed and model policies for guiding municipal action and facilitating private investment are presented. Under the design element section, the public benefits of each element are explained and an illustration or graphic is provided to express best practices for implementation. In addition, a regulatory strategy from a local or national source is summarized to demonstrate how design criteria can be inserted into ordinances. Both sections also include links to on-line resources for further information.

This is the first of six design guides the Planning Commission is preparing for Chester County’s Landscape categories. Each document will offer guidance on planning principles and design elements that will improve the character of new development.

View the Urban Center Landscape Design Guide.