Long Range Planning

Urban Design

Special Design Districts
Special Design Districts

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Urban Design is a focus within the larger realm of planning that emphasizes the physical form of the city and its visual and other sensory qualities. Excellence in urban design maintains and enhances the special "place-making" qualities of a city that provide its sense of identity. Urban Design emphasizes attractiveness as well as function, the appearance of buildings and how they are arranged as well as setbacks and parking requirements, and special care for the design and furnishing of public streets and other public spaces.

The Planning Department works to strengthen Lincoln's urban design quality in cooperation with three volunteer citizen design review boards. The Urban Design Committee has the broadest scope, advising city departments and the Mayor on a wide range of city and city-assisted projects. These include designs proposed for city buildings and other types of city-funded projects, and for private buildings and projects that are constructed with the city's financial assistance. The Historic Preservation Commission works with neighborhood groups, preservation advocates, property owners, and the State Historical Society to discover, protect, and share the community's heritage. In addition, the state and city together have recognized the special importance of the State Capitol building by establishing the Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission which is responsible for reviewing the design of buildings and public spaces in a defined area radiating out from the Capitol building.

The City has recognized certain other defined areas that deserve and receive special attention. The Downtown Design Standards express the community's expectations for new buildings and building alterations in the traditional central business district and nearby areas to the east (through the Telegraph District PUD) and west (through the South Haymarket Design Standards).

The Neighborhood Design Standards apply to new construction in the city's older (pre-1950) residential areas, and are intended to ensure that infill and redevelopment projects are generally compatible with the established character of these neighborhoods.