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.

Lincoln, Nebraska's distinct sense of place is strengthened through the City's active historic preservation program, which researches, designates, and celebrates landmarks and districts. 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 (Antelope Valley) and west (Haymarket and environs). 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. The Annotated Version of Neighborhood Design Standards is provided to aid understanding and provide interpretation to specific areas.

The Planning Department staffs the Urban Design Committee, a volunteer citizen group that advises city departments and the Mayor on 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.