Urban Form + Pattern

Strategy #2 - Urban Form + Pattern


This performance area intends to guide the physical form and structure of the district.  A city’s urban form evolves over time due to changing patterns of the social, political and economic processes.  Variations in street and block configurations, natural features, building types and architectural elements contribute to the urban fabric of Charleston.  In the study area, significant population growth and development is on the rise and expected to continue.  Couple that with an abundance of vacant and/or underutilized lots and buildings, and a prime opportunity exists to discuss how the physical form of the area can be guided as density patterns, building styles, transportation infrastructures and population patterns are abruptly changing.


Determine a desirable physical urban form to guide development.


  1. Protect historic urban fabric and existing view corridors
  2. Provide a clear framework for site planning and building design
  3. Ensure zoning and density requirements align to handle expected population growth
  4. Encourage green infrastructure and sustainable site design
  5. Ensure safe and connected streets with close proximity to services and pedestrian/bike access
  6. Encourage growth and the allocation of density in appropriate areas
  7. Encourage mixed-use live-work scenarios as appropriate
  8. Decrease vacancies


Upper Peninsula Zoning District

A new zoning district was created in fall 2015 to incentivize responsible growth of the Upper Peninsula.  More information can be found on our blog.

Charleston RISES

A new Charleston specific building certification program was rolled out in fall 2015 called Charleston RISES.  Designed for our region, it is a certification program specific to Charleston’s local needs.  It is managed locally by the Sustainability Institute with support from the City of Charleston. It is an affordable certification program, that has a simple non-bureaucratic review process, and is anticipated to result in higher performing buildings.

Development Projects

The Upper Peninsula Initiative, being a planning effort, is not a developer.  We do, however, work with developers and connect them with the community and vice versa to help ensure successful projects all around.  If you are interested in seeing  what public and private development projects are being planned for or are currently under construction, you can view them on our interactive project map.