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The definitions contained in this section are applicable only to this document and its contents. For complete list of definitions, visit BIMC 18.36.


means fostering human activity and interaction, often to describe streets and public spaces with pedestrian traffic, events and programming, or uses that draw, facilitate, or serve as a backdrop for human interactions such as shops and restaurants.

Built Environment

means the parts of our physical surroundings that are created by and for humans and serve as the setting for human activity.


is the distinctive qualities of a place, building or street.
Civic Uses are public buildings or institutions owned and operated by governmental or other public agencies.  This includes government offices, courthouses, police and fire stations, and schools.


is the physical (including natural and human-made) and cultural environment around a specific site and how the site relates to those surroundings.


means all structures and other modifications of the natural landscape (both above and below ground) on a particular site.

Design Standards

mandate planning and design actions that the applicant must incorporate in their project application. Compliance with standards is mandatory and failure to meet a mandatory standard may be used as a basis for the city’s denial of a project application.

Design Guidelines

are voluntary and not mandatory; however, compliance with guidelines may be necessary to comply with the Design Standards. Guidelines provide a variety of ways to satisfy the Design Standards based on the specific context and site. Failure to meet a voluntary guideline cannot be used by the city as a basis for a project denial.


is the arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows and doors in a building.


means street-facing facade of a building and its relationship to the street.

Heat Island Effect

is the tendency for built areas  to be hotter than their surroundings because of absorbed solar radiation and lack of vegetation, in particular, trees.

Human Scale

is the scale at which humans can comfortably interact with their environment based on the physical and cognitive characteristics and capabilities of the human body. 

Impervious Surface

means a non-vegetated surface area which either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil mantle as under natural conditions prior to development and/or a hard surface area which causes water to run off the surface in greater quantities or at an increased rate of flow from the flow present under natural conditions prior to development. Common impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to, roof tops, walkways, patios, driveways, parking lots or storage areas, concrete or asphalt paving, gravel roads, packed earthen materials, and oiled macadam or other surfaces which similarly impede the natural infiltration of stormwater.


the shape, form and size of buildings.

Natural Systems

such as ecosystems or water and nutrient cycles, are systems that exist in nature independent of human involvement and are composed of physical and biological materials and processes.


materials allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground.

Public Realm

means the spaces around, between and within buildings that are publicly accessible, and support public life and social interaction.



or climate resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate.

Stormwater Runoff

is the rainfall that flows over land, paved surfaces, and building rooftops.


means all public streets and property granted or reserved for, or dedicated to, public use for streets, walkways, sidewalks, bikeways, parking, and horse trails, whether improved or unimproved, including the air rights, subsurface rights, and related easements.


means a proportionate size, extent, degree, or level of detail typically in relation to a standard point of reference.

Stormwater Infiltration

is the process by which rainfall and stormwater runoff flows into and through the subsurface soil.

Sense of Place

is the relationship with the place and its identity as felt by residents and visitors and shaped through experiences of a place's natural, human-made, cultural, and historical features.


Street Types

are the classifications for each street on the Island according to common functions and existing or desired characteristics. The permitted building frontages for each Street Type specify setback requirements and treatments between the building and the right-of-way.


is the process by which water moves through a plant and evaporates into the atmosphere from its leaves and exterior surfaces.

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