SmartCode now free of licensing
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    APR. 1, 2005
Planners and public officials are now free to use text and images, in whole or in part, from Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company’s SmartCode without paying a licensing fee, according to Andres Duany. DPZ, the author of the code, previously charged $10,000 for its use. Few municipalities paid the fee, and the firm decided that it would get more widespread use if made available at low cost or no cost, Duany says. The Municipal Code Corporation (Municode) of Tallahassee, Florida, publisher of the SmartCode, will continue to sell the code in hard copy form, Duany says. As of late March, version 5.1 of the code was offered at municode.com for $59. The firm said that version 6.2 would be available shortly. Meanwhile, DPZ and PlaceMakers published an educational version of the SmartCode in March. The 11-by-17-inch, 24-page, full-color document is a beautifully illustrated and detailed resource for explaining the SmartCode and the urban-rural Transect. SmartCode Version 6.5, as this document is called, contains most sections of the code, along with articles on concepts underlying it such as traditional neighborhood development and the Transect. It is available at dpz.com or tndtownpaper.com. Version 6.5 states that a complete electronic version of the code will be made available on the web for free at dpz.com, although this was not the case by press time. DPZ, which invested $200,000 in creating the SmartCode, is still partnering with PlaceMakers, an architecture and urban design firm, to vigorously promote the code and assist in its implementation. PlaceMakers presented a four-day SmartCode workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, the first week of April. A SmartCode Manual, authored by William Wright, Duany, Sandy Sorlien, and Gustavo Sanchez, among other contributors, is due out this summer. The idea of dropping the licensing fee came about just as v6.5 went to press and the document was revised to reflect that decision, Duany says. He was unequivocal about its use. “Anybody can use any part of the code as long as we are given credit,” he says. The credit is important for the firm to maintain its copyright and avoid letting somebody else claim it, Duany explains. Although the firm will be losing a few $10,000 checks, Duany says it is more important to see the SmartCode adopted widely. “We have plenty of $10,000 checks coming in for our [design and planning] work,” he says.