National City, California

PlaceMaker Howard Blackson led a downtown Specific Plan, Urban Design standards and project Environmental Impact Report for National City’s Redevelopment authority. The plan and EIR was adopted by the City Council in February 2005 after a two-year process. The project’s baseline operating system utilized the Form-Based Code approach to place the correct building intensity to the correct street and open space typologies.



More urban streets, National City Boulevard and 8th Street, enabled more urban buildings, streetscapes and plazas, while less urban neighborhood streets enabled neighborhood-scaled buildings, streetscapes and parks. New plazas, streetscapes, civic institutions and one mixed-use building have been built under the code which is considered a success.

In 2005, the code won the Helen Putnam Award Honorable Mention by the League of California Cities for Most Effective Advocacy, Intergovernmental Relations and Regional Cooperation, 2005.