San Jose Design Guidelines | San Jose, CA

Creating Development Standards and Guidelines


Covering 180 square miles, San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area, extending from the San Francisco Bay to the Santa Clara Valley foothills. San Jose is composed of diverse communities spread across a well-established mix of residential, commercial, and industrial uses; public parks; cultural institutions; and employment centers.

Over the past 20 years, San Jose’s population has grown by over 15 percent and transitioned to more urban development to accommodate this growth. These conditions are both an asset and a challenge in supporting cohesive development that reflects the individual needs and character of its neighborhoods. VMWP worked with the City of San Jose to create a set of Design Guidelines that work in conjunction with other City documents and regulations to ensure that buildings throughout San José have high-quality design and are appropriate for their site, function, and neighborhood.

The San José Citywide Design Guidelines and Standards apply overarching site and development.



  • Site Context, Access, and Organization
  • Building Massing, Acccess and Entry, and Elements
  • Pedestrian Level Treatments, Open Space Design, and Public Art
  • Specific Development Types; Residential, Commercial, Industrial

Project Information

  • Client: City of San Jose
  • Project Scale: Residential and Commercial Design Guidelines