CD2 Design Quality

Only areas with a white background are considered part of the General Plan.

Quality urban deign results in a pleasant environment for both users and people passing by - like the environment found at the Americana at Brand in Glendale.

Ontario is made up of a series of places and neighborhoods that have developed over more than a century.  This has resulted in an eclectic built environment with a rich blend of architectural styles including the historic downtown, residential neighborhoods, equestrian properties, commercial centers, and industrial and office complexes.

Intense urban mixed use centers are envisioned to be added in strategic areas of the City.  Community, site and building designs will be unique and of high quality, with attention to detail that would be expected in a preeminent Southern California city.

High quality design will be applied citywide to achieve distinct neighborhoods, districts and urban centers.  Buildings and places shall respect the site context and further the City’s Vision.  This approach ensures all physical improvements, including overall site design, landscaping, building design and orientation, architectural details, site furniture and building materials, will help achieve vibrant places, enhanced value and livability throughout the City.



A high level of design quality resulting in public spaces, streetscapes, and developments that are attractive, safe, functional and distinct.



Quality Architecture.  We encourage all development projects to convey visual interest and character through:

  • building volume, massing, and height to provide appropriate scale and proportion;
  • a true architectural style which is carried out in plan, section and elevation through all aspects of the building and site design and appropriate for its setting; and
  • exterior building materials that are visually interesting, high quality, durable, and appropriate for the architectural style.


Neighborhood Design.  We create distinct residential neighborhoods that are functional, have a sense of community, emphasize livability and social interaction, and are uniquely identifiable places through such elements as:

  • a pattern of smaller, walkable blocks that promote access, activity and safety;
  • variable setbacks and parcel sizes to accommodate a diversity of housing types;
  • traffic calming measures to slow traffic and promote walkability while maintaining acceptable fire protection and traffic flows;
  • floor plans that encourage views onto the street and de-emphasize the visual and physical dominance of garages (introducing the front porch as the “outdoor living room”), as appropriate; and
  • landscaped parkways, with sidewalks separated from the curb.


Commercial Centers.  We desire commercial centers to be distinctive, pedestrian friendly, functional and vibrant with a range of businesses, places to gather, and connectivity to the neighborhoods they serve.


Mixed Use, Urban Office and Transit Serving Areas.  We require mixed use, urban office and transit serving areas to be designed and developed as pedestrian oriented “villages” that promote a vibrant, comfortable and functional environment.


Streetscapes.  We design new and, when necessary, retrofit existing streets to improve walkability, bicycling and transit integration, strengthen connectivity, and enhance community identity through improvements to the public right of way such as sidewalks, street trees, parkways, curbs, street lighting and street furniture.


Connectivity.  We promote development of local street patterns and pedestrian networks that create and unify neighborhoods, rather than divide them, and create cohesive and continuous corridors, rather than independent “islands” through the following means (Link to Mobility):

  • local street patterns that provide access between subdivisions and within neighborhoods and discourage through traffic;
  • a local street system that is logical and understandable for the user.  A grid system is preferred to avoid circuitous and confusing travel paths between internal neighborhood areas and adjacent arterials; and
  • neighborhoods, centers, public schools, and parks that are linked by pedestrian greenways/open space networks.  These may also be used to establish clear boundaries between distinct neighborhoods and/or centers.


Sustainability.  We collaborate with the development community to design and build neighborhoods, streetscapes, sites, outdoor spaces, landscaping and buildings to reduce energy demand through solar orientation, maximum use of natural daylight, passive solar and natural ventilation, building form, mechanical and structural systems, building materials and construction techniques.


Safe Design.  We incorporate defensible space design into new and existing developments to ensure the maximum safe travel and visibility on pathways, corridors, and open space and at building entrances and parking areas by avoiding physically and visually isolated spaces, maintenance of visibility and accessibility, and use of lighting.


Landscape Design.  We encourage durable landscaping materials and designs that enhance the aesthetics of structures, create and define public and private spaces, and provide shade and environmental benefits.


Surface Parking Areas.  We require parking areas visible to or used by the public to be landscaped in an aesthetically pleasing, safe and environmentally sensitive manner. Examples include shade trees, pervious surfaces, urban run-off capture and infiltration, and pedestrian paths to guide users through the parking field.


Entry Statements.  We encourage the inclusion of amenities, signage and landscaping at the entry to neighborhoods, commercial centers, mixed use areas, industrial developments, and public places that reinforce them as uniquely identifiable places.


Site and Building Signage.  We encourage the use of sign programs that utilize complementary materials, colors, and themes. Project signage should be designed to effectively communicate and direct users to various aspects of the development and complement the character of the structures.


Entitlement Process.  We work collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure a high degree of certainty in the efficient review and timely processing of all development plans and permits.


Availability of Information. We provide easy access to information for developers, builders and the public about design quality, construction quality, and sustainable building practices.


Leverage Professional and Trade Organizations.  We support excellence in design and construction quality through collaboration with trade and professional organizations that provide expertise, resources and programs for developers, builders and the public.