Skip to Navigation Skip to Content


Villages, structures, and landscapes are key defining features of the Cape's unique character. To retain this character and ensure development is consistent with the region's unique patterns, Cape Cod Commission planning staff offers a variety of technical services and knowledge in several community design-related disciplines.

Using expertise in site design, architecture, historic preservation, and landscape architecture, the Commission offers a wide range of services to assist communities with creating and implementing their long-range planning goals, including:

  • design guidance
  • area studies and corridor plans
  • concept/land use plans
  • sustainable site and landscape design
  • visualizations and modeling
  • historic preservation

Design Guidelines and Resources 

Design Guidelines for Cape Cod

"Designing the Future to Honor the Past" is an award winning design manual that includes comprehensive information on site planning, landscape design, lighting and architecture.

Contextual Design for Cape Cod

"Contextual Design on Cape Cod" is an addendum to "Designing the Future to Honor the Past" focusing on design strategies for larger structures. These award winning guidelines provide a wide range of strategies for incorporating larger structures into the surrounding context.

Community Design Technical Bulletin

The Community Design Technical Bulletin adopted with the 2018 Regional Policy Plan provides guidance for projects for meeting the Community Design goal and objectives. 

Complete Streets Manual for Cape Cod

The "Complete Streets/Living Streets" manual illustrates ways to accommodate the needs of bikes, pedestrians and other roadway uses to make streets safer, more sustainable and accessible.

Visual Impact Assessment

Developed as part of the Cape Cod Ocean Management Plan, the Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) methodology describes the process for completing a visual impact assessment and evaluating the appropriate scale and visual impact of wind turbines proposed in the ocean environment.

Sustainable Landscape Design Guidance

Plants Suitable for LID

This list includes upland and wetland plants that are suitable for low impact design on the Cape.

Plants Suitable for the Cape Cod Landscape

This list includes the list of plants that are suitable for the cultivated Cape Cod environment.

Sample Landscape Maintenance Contract

This sample maintenance contract/plan lays out the specifications to ensure site landscaping can become established. The contract is used for projects reviewed as Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs).

Cape Cod Cooperative Extension

Project Resources

View All Resources

15M pdf
Dec 12, 2018
Designing the Future to Honor the Past: Design Guidelines for Cape Cod
DesigningFutureHonorPast.pdf dept/commission/team/Website_Resources/design/…
37M pdf
Dec 10, 2018
Contextual Design on Cape Cod: Design Guidelines for Large-scale Development
ContextualDesignCapeCod.pdf dept/commission/team/Website_Resources…
1M pdf
Mar 22, 2019
. CAPE COD COMMISSION CD-1 Community Design This guidance is intended to clarify how the Community Design Goal and Objectives of the Regional Policy Plan (RPP) are to be applied…
4M pdf
Feb 14, 2013
Complete Streets/Living Streets: A Design Manual for Cape Cod
CompleteStreetsLivingStreetsDesignManual2012.pdf dept…
Search Circle Icon Search Icon Document Icon Video Icon PDF Icon CSV/XLS Icon