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Downtown Design Guidelines and Standards

The City Design Team and a consultant team are currently updating the Downtown Design Guidelines and Standards document ("Design Guidelines"). The link below opens the draft document:

The Design Guidelines cover the design review process, site context and design, public realm, building massing and architecture, ground floor design, transit access, parking, view corridors, pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, materials and colors, lighting, signage, façade treatment, bird safety design, and transitions to existing lower intensity and historic buildings.

When approved by Council, this document will replace the 2004 Downtown Design Guidelines and supplement the 2014 Diridon Station Area Plan Design Guidelines:

The update includes review of various Downtown strategy and policy documents and gathering public input.

Public Outreach and Input

The project team began conducting outreach on the draft Design Guidelines in February 2018. The following organizations have been or continue to be involved in the development of the document:

American Institute of Architects (AIA)                                        Preservation Action Council of San José (PACSJ)
Caltrain                                                                                      San José Downtown Association   
City Council and department staff                                             San José State University (SJSU)
City of San José Station Area Advisory Group (SAAG)            Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) 
Developers and Construction Industry                                      SAP Center
Knight Foundation                                                                     SPUR
Public workshops:

Background and Knight Foundation Grant

In August 2017, the City received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to update the Downtown Design Guidelines. The City Council designated this project as Policy Priority #20 at its priority setting session on October 27, 2017.

Contact Information

Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, Supervising Planner/Project Manager
Planning Division, City of San José
Phone: 408-535-7818