Updates on City of San José Services and/or Operations . (English | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文)

Within the San José Planning Division, the City Design Team (CDT) provides the primary urban design function for the City. These staff strive to strengthen the City's vibrancy and sense of place through attention to site design, building design, and the interface with the public realm. They bring together the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, and transportation planning.

The CDT is collaborative, working to find common ground and balance within the varying needs and interests of many stakeholders, so that ultimately development and growth enhance our City. CDT addresses San José’s urban design through four key efforts: 

  1. Urban Design Guidelines
  2. Design Review
  3. Placemaking and Public Life
  4. Research, Outreach, and Education

Urban Design Guidelines

CDT defines and refines the urban design guidelines that shape San José's built environment. There are design guidelines for specific areas and historic districts of San José, for types of development (residential, commercial, and industrial), and for elements of development (lighting, parking, etc.). These can be found at the Design Guidelines webpage.

CDT is currently updating the Downtown Design Guidelines.

Design Review

CDT advocates across interdepartmental and intergovernmental processes for enhancing San José through high quality design that accounts for human scale, historical resources, encouragement of transit use, pedestrian safety, approved plans for specific districts, and many other elements.

Placemaking and Public Life

Public Life entails planning and controlling the space between buildings to create a lively, connected social environment. When well designed and maintained, such spaces add tremendous value to private investment. For more information, visit the Placemaking and Public Life webpage.

Research, Outreach, and Education

CDT is also involved in research, outreach and education in matters related to Urban Design. We:

  • Invite public engagement and feedback on urban design guidelines
  • Engage with and present to various groups such as SPUR.
  • Engage with San José State University Urban Planning Program.
  • Attends and presents at various conferences.


If you have questions about the City Design Team and the projects that they work on, contact Leila Hakimizadeh at