Urban design concepts tend to fall into two distinct categories relating to:
The location of different land uses throughout the city and their relationship to one another; and,
The visual character and appearance of individual buildings, sites, and districts.
Within the Merced Vision 2015 General Plan, the urban design focus for new growth areas is primarily defined by the Urban Village concept (mixed use, pedestrian- and transit-friendly neighborhoods). These villages are made up of core commercial centers and medium-density residential areas within walking distance of the center, surrounded by lower-density housing.
The Urban Village and other land use and design concepts have been implemented in the Merced Vision 2015 General Plan through the following guiding principles:
Conserve natural resource areas that give form and character to the community.
Promote an urban form that integrates housing, shops, work places, schools, parks and civic facilities.
Reinforce the elements of the community which give Merced its unique identity.
Expand the city’s non-vehicular transportation network.
Promote convenient pedestrian and vehicular access to transit, commercial, recreation, and residential places.
Reinforce the downtown as a focus point in the City.
Conserve the special qualities of existing neighborhoods and districts.
Focus residential, commercial, and employment center development to encourage public transit use.
Maximize the use of city streets as public spaces.
Assure that development takes place in a balanced manner in order to promote the economic vitality of evolving areas.
Other highlights of the Urban Design Chapter include:
A detailed description of the City’s "Urban Village" growth model, including definitions of inner villages, outer villages, core commercial areas, and Village Core Residential areas;
Policies regarding the appearance of buildings and districts throughout the City; and
Suggested urban design guidelines for architects and designers.
Chapter 6--Urban Design
Goal Area UD-1: Urban Villages
Integrated Urban Form
Transit Oriented Community Design
Pedestrian and Bicycle Compatibility
UD-1.1 Apply Urban Village design principles to new development in the growth areas of North Merced.
UD-1.2 Locate Urban Villages to promote convenient vehicular, pedestrian, and transit access.
UD-1.3 Promote and facilitate Core Commercial design principles in Village commercial areas.
UD-1.4 Promote and facilitate Urban Village residential area design principles.
UD-1.5 Design and develop public and quasi-public buildings and uses utilizing Urban Village principles.
Goal Area UD-2: Overall Community Appearance
A Unique Community Image
Attractive Neighborhoods and Districts
Attractive and Memorable Public Streets
UD-2.1 Utilize Urban Village design concepts in neighborhood revitalization programs.
UD-2.2 Maintain and enhance the unique community appearance of Merced.