Discovery

A place to share our ideas, expertise, and lessons learned.

More than Meets the Eye

Crafting a lighting design solution that balances vision, art and science to meet the needs of many users.

To the general public, lighting design might seem like an engineering discipline utilizing simple, utilitarian sets of decisions about where to place fixtures and how to control them.…

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Equality Isn’t Enough: Designing for Equity in Our Parks

How a data-informed approach can improve access to parks and trails and enhance economic, environmental, physical and social well-being. 

Instinctively we know our neighborhoods and communities are better when people have ready access to areas where they can walk, run, play, gather, and interact with the natural environment.…

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Into the (Steel) Woods We Go

RDG’s design for the curved steel trees at Iowa’s Lauridsen Amphitheater creates an iconic structure that inspires awe and wonder.

There is music between the trees in Water Works Park. Hugging the bank of Raccoon River near downtown Des Moines, Iowa, the 1,500-acre riverside woodland area is one of the country’s largest urban parks, an outdoor oasis in the heart of the city.…

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Design Residency Explores Urban Redevelopment and Transformation of a Living Community

Eleven graduate students from nine universities across seven states and two countries came together Nov. 5-8, 2019 for RDG’s ninth annual Design Residency.

Residents were charged with solving a challenging design problem: reimagine and reinvigorate the eastern end of Des Moines’ Douglas Avenue Corridor, a section of the city with a highly diverse yet low-income population, deteriorating infrastructure, lack of walkability and accessibility and numerous struggling businesses.…

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What Do We Do With This Big Empty Industrial Building?

Thanks to a building and manufacturing boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s, plenty of big industrial warehouses, factories, and similar structures stand in urban centers and small cities across the Midwest. Many now sit empty; stoic relics of a bygone time that present challenges to their communities.…

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Create Meaning Together With Design Residency

Meeting The Challenges of Climate Change

In October 2018, RDG Planning and Design hosted its 8thannual Design Residency, a 3-day charette style learning event which gathers the nation’s top graduate students from many fields to address complex community problems.…

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Transparency, Collaboration, Comprehensiveness

This is second in a series of articles sharing insights from our work with St. Cloud State University’s (SCSU’s) Comprehensive Facilities Planning process – a rich experience, full of learning for all!

Key to the planning effort in SCSU’s Comprehensive Facilities Planning Process were the commitment to provide transparency throughout the process, to cast a wide net in order to achieve a truly comprehensive Plan, and to involve as many people as possible who might be impacted by the Plan.…

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Promoting Healthy Lifestyles – National Bike Challenge

At RDG, we are more than just designers and we strive every day to provide opportunities for staff to adopt a series of lifestyles that allow them to achieve balance to their home, work and public lives. Lifestyles that maintain their value as good designers, commitment to sustainable decisions, living a healthy lifestyle, continuous learning, embracing new technology, and all the while having some fun! We…

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Common Myths about Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse

Whether you’re a commercial developer, public entity or homeowner, it can be daunting to consider how to make your historic property work for your needs yet remain feasible for future generations. But let’s be clear – much of what you may have heard about restoration projects probably isn’t true.…

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Community Planning – Seeing Through The Lens of GIS

GIS, also known as Geographic Information Systems, is a software platform bringing understanding to our projects. This platform provides a variety of tools to perform data manipulation. For us at RDG, GIS is a foundational tool utilized in all ofour community and regional planning work. From topography and flood zones to home value and travel times, this technology is primarily used to track wherepublic facilities are located and allows us to better understandcommunities.…

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