Urban Design and Community Planning

We provide clarity around and build momentum and support for a community-based vision.

Our plans provide more than just a “pretty picture.” We work directly with market experts and stakeholders to ensure our plans are both inspiring and realistic.

Development codes and design standards

We have demonstrated success in crafting user-friendly zoning codes and design standards that implement local goals and policies. Our projects address client and community needs, from both a land use and design goal as well as a usability and predictability objective. Our team brings extensive best practice research and experience on hybrid form-based codes, sign codes, planned-unit developments, visualizing compatible density, and more. Our broad experience gives us confidence in pioneering new regulatory concepts to solve problems and accomplish local objectives.

Downtown, neighborhood, and subarea plans

Our plans have been successful in achieving their community revitalization goals. Building on each community’s unique identity, our plans address a variety of issues, including land use and community design, environmental enhancement, economic revitalization, historic preservation, transportation, integration of public facilities, and streetscape improvements. Economic vitality is a primary objective of our urban center and downtown improvement projects. Our projects have resulted in increased pedestrian activity, merchant sales, and commercial redevelopment.

Transit-oriented development, mobility and corridor plans

We work closely with communities, transportation planners, and engineers to develop transit-oriented design solutions that balance the community’s vision with land use and transportation objectives. Our community outreach, user-friendly graphics, and concise documents help humanize large-scale transportation projects. Our work has demonstrated that public improvements can make heavy-traffic corridors more efficient, safe, and more attractive to development.

Housing action plans

We have extensive experience in helping communities update housing code and design provisions to meet objectives for both the quantity and quality of housing development. Our urban design emphasis helps communicate issues, options, and solutions and resolve compatibility challenges. We craft specific inclusionary zoning and housing diversity options, and, by conducting meaningful and inclusive community engagement, we create implementable plans with buy-in from community members, stakeholders, and public officials.

Resiliency and climate action plans

We develop visions, policies, strategies, and actions that promote community resilience and ecological sustainability at a range of scales—site, subarea, citywide, and regional. Our plans and concept designs reduce GHG emissions through integrated land use and transportation planning, improve multimodal transportation options, set policies for supporting transitions to electric vehicles, protect natural systems, offer green infrastructure solutions, encourage transitions to alternative energy sources, and thoughtfully consider how public infrastructure investments can benefit climate, natural disaster, and economic resiliency. We also develop guidebooks to educate about design-related resiliency and climate adaptation actions.

Comprehensive plans

Our comprehensive plans help communities achieve greater land use and transportation efficiency, equitable outcomes, economic development, and environmental sustainability and resiliency. We bring three critical capabilities: (1) award-winning experience in building a public “vision” on which to base comprehensive planning policies, (2) creating, through visualization, greater public understanding and support for implementation, and (3) crafting development standards that resolve development issues and balance competing objectives.

Race and social equity planning

Our plans center race and social equity from the get-go by setting an equity framework and analyzing equity impacts for all recommendations. We seek opportunities to right past wrongs, set policy that improves communitywide health and wellbeing, and define equitable development for each community. We design our engagement processes to co-create plans with communities, elevate voices from BIPOC and traditionally underserved communities, and build trusting, long-term relationships.

Public engagement

We employ a variety of tools to harness the expertise and knowledge of community members and project stakeholders, facilitate an efficient exchange of ideas, and bring everyone together around an achievable solution. Our team designs engagement strategies for each project’s unique needs, finding the most appropriate method for the project and affected communities. Our commitment to social equity extends to inclusive community engagement, using innovative in-person and online tools to co-create plans with traditionally underrepresented populations. We have led the way in compensating community members for their time and expertise through formal contracts and stipends, and we regularly seek trusted advocate and community gatekeeper team members.