Ferrell Madden Lewis


Ferrell Madden, an urban design and town planning firm located in Washington DC and State College PA creates and codes traditional city, town, and neighborhood plans by combining sophisticated urban design with sound planning practices. We regularly work with both public and private sector clients from across the country, creating innovative physical master plans and form-based codes for redevelopment districts, transit- and pedestrian-oriented development areas, new mixed-use neighborhoods, and corridor revitalization—for large green-, brown-, and grey-field parcels under single-ownership and entire districts with multiple parcels and owners. The firm approaches all of its projects with practical idealism, seeking to balance the principles of true neighborhood and town building with market realities. FM has more than 20 years of experience working in collaboration with talented multi-disciplinary teams to address complex urban design and master-planning projects in locations as diverse as the San Francisco Bay area; Dallas, Texas; Peoria, Illinois; and Arlington, Virginia—developing master plans rooted in tradition that also accommodate contemporary issues and produce results.

Ferrell Madden is at the forefront of the innovative regulatory technique of Form-Based Coding. Our form-based coding work has been featured in a variety of publications, such as: Planning magazine; On Common Ground, the Realtors’ magazine on smart growth; APA Zoning Practice; and Codifying New Urbanism: How to Reform Municipal Land Development Regulations. Geoffrey Ferrell and Mary Madden are founding members of the Form-Based Codes Institute and have spoken on the subject in numerous forums, including national conferences such as the American Planning Association, the Congress for the New Urbanism, EPA Growing Smart, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as locally for the Washington Regional Network, and the EPA Smart Growth Speaker series in Washington, DC. 

Our form-based coding approach is based on traditional American Town and City form and function—creating places that are inherently pedestrian friendly and mixed-use. We operate under the guiding philosophy that the great neighborhoods, towns, and cities in America did not happen by accident—they were planned with a physical vision. Our codes are not written in the abstract, but rather to produce a specific place—one envisioned by the local citizens and grounded in the reality of the local economic, political, and community context. We are involved throughout planning and development projects: from preliminary analysis, master planning, and urban design to creating new codes and review processes in conjunction/coordination with implementation strategies. Ferrell Madden incorporates the timeless principles of traditional human settlement with the most valuable aspects of science and technology—Smart Growth, ecology and sustainability, etc.—and contemporary real estate development practices.

In addition, FM regularly uses a public participation charrette process as a multi-faceted tool: to clarify the public vision for future development in a targeted area; and to establish the framework for the new form-based code or other land development regulations.


     R. Geoffrey Ferrell

    Mary E. Madden


    Urban Design

    Town Planning

    Form-Based Codes


Philosophy & Writings

19 14th Street SE
Washington DC 20003