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 The Transect
General Definition

A transect is a zone which functions more like an inclusive environment, rather than simply regulating uses (as traditional zoning). The term transect is borrowed from the natural sciences and is used to describe geographical cross sections that are distinct natural environments.



Transect in Human Environments
The way in which transect zones function like an inclusive environment is that they provide a rational way organize the many different components of the built world: buildings, lots, open space, land use, & streets.  For human environments, this cross-section can identify environments or places that vary from rural to urban. Within urban areas, there are various transects that increase in their intensity.  When transect zones increase in their intensity of human development, they decrease their natural diversity (preserved areas, green areas and open space). The closer a transect is to the Natural Zone (T1), the greener it is. However, as far as sustainable development standards are concerned, T6 areas that are high density are the most sustainable, as they deplete as little resources as possible and reduce our carbon footprint.

Transect Planning Within a Form-Based Code

The transect is the building block for Miami 21’s Form Based Zoning Code. Transect zones (T3, T4, T5, & T6) regulate much more than traditional zones do. 


Within the Miami 21 Zoning Code, each transect zone regulates the following:
  Building disposition—where the building sits in relation to the lot or parcel
  Building Configuration—how the building is molded (its shape and form)
  Function and intensity—Uses allowed in each transect zone and the percentage of the building that may accommodate that use and/or varying degrees of that use
  Landscape Standards
  Parking standards
  Standards that integrate individual property with the public realm—Such as pedestrian orientation, landscape standards, parking liners, building frontages, etc.
  A successional (sequential) relationship between transects—Prior and subsequent transects are related and increase in their intensity, ensuring a smooth succession of environments. 

These elements help regulate the creation of a human environment, rather than simply regulating use.

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