Ask CNU: What's the Transect?

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Today in Ask CNU, Matt from Dayton asks: "I'm doing research on urban tier classifications for an upcoming regional plan. Where can I find out more about The Transect?"

The Urban-to-Rural Transect is a tool for understanding and planning urban development devised by Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ). Its marvelous simplicity and intuitiveness make it a good framework for devising plans and codes.

For those who've never heard about the Transect, CNU member John Massengale has both a quick, concise definition and some humorous illustrations of the concept at his blog. For some further reading, DPZ's website has links to several articles describing the Transect, as well as many examples (photographs and drawings) of how the Transect works in different real and theoretical locations. The SmartCode is a model zoning ordinance that uses the Transect as its organizing principle; a book about both is available from New Urban News.

The Miami 21 Plan website includes a number of drawings and 3D movies illustrating how the Transect could be applied to a future Miami.

Ask CNU is an occasional column where Payton Chung, CNU's Research Coordinator, answers your questions about New Urbanism. Submit your questions to me at pchung{at}


Ask CNU: What's the Transect?

Visit the new SmartCode Central site

There is a Transect page.

The site includes introductory material on form-based design and transect-based planning; lists of SmartCode consultants, seminars, and resources; downloadable files of version 9.0 and archives for v8.0, links to official SmartCode publications, and an account of the major changes between v8.0 and v9.0.


whats a transect

If you look in Ian Mchargs book "Design with Nature" there are illustrations of this concept. It is a usefull ordering concept/tool.
m. alfano jr. aia


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