Myths and Realities: Form-Based Codes for Architects

with Bob Gibbs & Geoff Ferrell

Feb. 5-6, 2016

The Seaside Institute


GPG recently completed an adaptive master plan for the historic Three Rivers Hospital in Three Rivers, Michigan. Implementation of the plan would restore the historic (circa 1927) hospital to provide rental apartments or college dorms, extend Scidmore Park's presence throughout the site and on to the riverfront, and provide housing that would complement and enhance the surrounding neighborhood. The city is using the plan to apply for grant money for implementation.





Founded in 1957 and located in Rochester, Michigan, OU is a 20,000-student liberal arts college, and has recently added a medical school. OU has over 100,000 alumni and this was the 21st such award. Bob received a BA in Social Studies and an excellent education from OU.

Distinguished Alumni Award for

Robert Gibbs

Robert Gibbs received the 2015 Oakland University Distinguished Alumni Award Friday, Sept. 18,  for his career's achievements and contributions.

Robert Gibbs will be a featured speaker at three free Community Summits in Tennessee. The state's Dept. of Economic and Community Development and the USDA are offering Three Free Community Summits across the state: Aug.4 in  Jonesborough, Aug. 5 in Cookeville, and Aug.  6 in Huntingdon.The focus is in training and inspiring thepeople who are driving your

Meet GPG's Hard-working Interns

GPG interns: Kelly Whiteside, Dustin Hagfors, Fan Fan and Rachel Miu.

Marquette, Michigan is in the process of implementing our Third Street Form-Based Master Plan and walkability study. GPG was the lead planner, with  co-planners Susan Henderson of PlaceMakers, Mike Lydon (Street Plans Collaborative), Bill Dennis (B. Dennis Town & Building Design) and Dede Christopher (Christopher Illustration). Read about the implementation here. Marquette is home to Northern Michigan State University, and is the largest city in Michigan's UP.

GPG Presented its Retail, Hotel and Office Findings for South Ft. Wayne, Indiana to the city on July 13. GPG was tasked with developing a realistic market-based development strategy founded on the market analysis that can be used effectively at the outset to improve commercial/retail conditions in South Fort Wayne generally,  three shopping centers and eight commercial corridors.

downtown revitalization efforts. Bob is one of three national experts to talk about Placemaking, with the same program repeated in East, Middle and West Tennessee. And it's free (including lunch!).

Urban Retail: Essential Planning, Design and Management Practices, Bob's annual Harvard GSD Executive Education class, will be held this year on July 15-17. Class description can be found here. Registration is now open: http://execed.gsd.harvard.edu/urban-design-planning.


Speakers joining Bob this year are Terry Shook, FAIA, Shook-Kelley Architects; Stefanos Polyzoides, Moule & Polyzoides Architects; Yaromir Steiner, Steiner Associates; Howard Kaufman, Leyland Alliance; and Jeffrey Higgins, Retail Indigo Advisors.

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Council's Breaking Ground 2015Conference Robert Gibbs delivered a keynote  address about current retail and development trends  at DVRPC's March 12 conference in Philadelphia.

Planner: Update Woodward by Ditching Underpass
GPG presented its plans for remaking the confusing Woodward-I 696 intersection to the community in Pleasant Ridge, MI on February 17. The final plan will be included in the complete streets master plan for the entire 27-mile Woodward corridor being organized by the Woodward Avenue Action Committee.
GPG conducted a retail feasibility analysis for a 24-acre project, Regent Square, in Houston. The subject site is planned to be a major mixed-use lifestyle development including apartments, condominiums, over 240,000 sf of office space, retail, restaurants and several public amenities, totaling over 4.2 million sf of mixed-use space.
GPG also completed a market study for a new retail development in a walkable, mixed-use format called The Banks in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Banks will be located near Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals), Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds), a minor league arena (Cincinnati Cyclones) and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,  along the Cincinnati Streetcar currently under construction,  which will generate a regular influx of consumers who may spend increasing amounts of time and expenditure at the subject site as a critical mass of retailers and restaurants emerge.

News 2015

GPG's Retail Analysis for the Village of Manchester is the subject of a report in the January 5, 2015 edition of the Manchester Mirror. Read about it here.

U    R    B    A    N   I    N    T    E    L    L    I    G    E    N    C    E

Form-Based Codes for Architects is an intensive one-and-one-half-day class starting at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 and concluding on Saturday, Feb. 6,  at 6:00 p.m., in which architects learn how to work with a FBC. Stay through Sunday and study on the ground the country’s first and best model of new urbanism. The course provides an overview of the principal logic of a form-based code, from its necessary foundation in a place-based community vision to its regulatory emphasis on the public realm. Register here.

GPG Receives MAP Award for Walloon Village











GPG received the 2015 Planning Excellence in Urban Design award from the Michigan Association of Planning for the master plan for Walloon Village, Earnest Hemmingway’s boyhood summer home. This project was recognized at the Michigan Association of Planning’s annual conference on October 7 in Detroit.













The village was planned to reflect the historic scale and character of traditional northern Michigan communities including walkable mixed-use, small squares and white clapboard buildings with red roofs. A jury of APA Florida Chapter professionals reviewed and selected the project, and they included the following comments in their recommendation:

“This Master Plan was an excellent example of maximizing small scale incremental concepts to implement the larger goal of a mixed use center. Using small incubator retail sheds and relocating historic buildings to the site created the seeds for future urban development. Very creative place making for such a small community.”

Walloon is a small resort community of 300 residents located in northwestern Michigan’s Lower Peninsula near Petoskey on Walloon Lake. The new village includes two restaurants, a bakery, a waterfront park, office, stores, pop-up retailer sheds, repurposed lakefront cottages, and a 32-room waterside inn.  The original historic village had been mostly razed through neglect and fire.

Kelly Whiteside has assisted GPG this summer as a marketing intern developing an integrated social media and promotions program. Kelly will  wrap up her marketing studies at Walsh College in 2016.


Dustin Hagfors is a market research intern for GPG and urban planning graduate student at Wayne State University. Dustin has performed consumer intercept surveys, conducted market research, and collected demographic data  for scores of market studies for us this year, most recently for Florida and Michigan projects.


Fan Fan is an urban planning intern, and been assisting us this summer on projects for Longwood, Florida and Three Rivers, Michigan. Her drawing skills have been a valuable support as we design alternative master plans for these clients. Fan is a recent Masters of Urban Planning graduate from the University of Michigan.

Rachel Miu graduated from University of Michigan with a BS in Architecture in May and has also been supporting GPG’s master planning projects for Longwood, Florida and Three Rivers, Michigan. She is a resident of Warren, Michigan.

GPG Planners Bob Gibbs and Dave Mangum were pleased to participate in the kick off workshop for the East Dearborn Sustainable Parking Lots Project!

GPG works with CPAT team in Deerfield Beach, Florida

GPG participated on the Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) for the City of Deerfield Beach's Village Center. CPAT is a pro bono program of the APA that helps communities that lack planning resources. The CPAT is assisting the city with a strategy to create a walkable, mixed use district through the creation of a new land use category. The CPAT brings skills in land use, economic development and market analysis, landscape architecture, and urban design.