Urban life and urban culture have long been at the heart of
civilization and economic development. Cities all over the world
are facing great challenges attempting to meet the dynamic and
contradictory trends of today. With economic globalization,
growing population demands for the Earth’s resources driving
costs ever higher, and the need to protect life-supporting
environmental systems on the one hand, and, individualization of
everyday life and politics on the other, we see new urban
A city is a landscape. It has richness, diversity and complexity
similar to natures ecology, with different components. The World
doesn't need man. Man needs the World. Man needs the World’s
natural systems to support the human enterprise. The economics
of ecology are of incalculable benefit to life.
The concept of creating sustainable urban places should model
natural systems to attract people to live, work and play there.
People maintain things they respect and love and think are
beautiful. We need to make our cities beautiful, safe, healthy and
stimulating. To be sustainable our cities must have adequate
opens spaces, clean air - a wholesome environment - including
forests with large shade trees, flowering ornamentals, meadows,
streams and ponds - 'GREENways' and 'BLUEways'. Nature
provides ecosystem services to urban dwellers.
Nature inspires people; the beauty of the earth, diversity of
landform, plants, rivers, birds, fish and animals inspires. Nature
affects people on several levels; recreating there can re-create
spiritually, mentally and physically. But we need a daily does of
similar influences where we live daily. We need great cities with
their diversity, inclusiveness and richness of human interaction
provided for by good design. Design that is a catalyst for chance
meetings with neighbors at the market, in the park, along
greenways, on the sidewalks to and from nearby destinations,
outdoor dining cafés, and people watching places and spaces
where after-work walks through woodland parks along streams
happen, and Frisbees are tossed, and softball is enjoyed, and
kids fly kits in meadows, and jogging, bicycling and evening
strolls are commonplace.
Most new urbanism communities tend to be improved suburbs –
still expanding the need for vast infrastructure producing less-
sustainable living. Europe’s model of ‘if you have to drive you’re
using too much energy’ is more sustainable. We need to teach
cities how to re-tool to provide attractive sustainable places to live.
Understand first – then seek to plan and design. This simple
philosophy drives our practice and generates more successful
solutions. In depth analysis, achievable economic goals,
environmental responsibility and cultural sensitivity combine to
create workable, memorable places to live, work and play.
Urban design requires the synergistic collaboration of various
disciplines. Our work includes programming, planning, designing
and implementing re-vitalized urban spaces, streetscapes, plazas
Regenerating and rebuilding older downtowns and neighborhood
centers presents additional challenges. Socioeconomic shifts and
normal cycles of urban change mandate creative adaptive re-use
of older structures. Cultural assets and social traditions,
economic opportunities and challenges, and the unique
character of each site, and stakeholders comprise the complex
set of variables we work with to design a better future.
In times of rapid change there is an obvious risk of a city losing
its soul. Local history, identity and culture clashing with new
populations, influences and life-styles are raising questions about
the competitive, attractive and exciting city. At the same time
there is tremendous pressure on cities to be ecologically sound
and socially balanced. For most, the heart of a city – the sense
of memorable place – is created by not by building icons, but by
the people space in between.