Author Archives: rdgeditor1

Setting a Course for the Railroad Pergola

How a dynamically-designed public art installation in Waukee, Iowa connects communities and builds vitality.

The community of Waukee, Iowa is bringing public art and infrastructure together to realize the full potential of the tri-county Raccoon River Valley Trail and its exceptional 72-mile trail loop.…

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Therapeutic Gardens in Health Care Design

The power of landscape architecture in creating healthier environments for patients and caregivers.

Long-standing research has shown how the simple act of viewing or visiting an outdoor landscape benefits our health. It’s why corporations value the “corner office” and why picture windows have become a staple in our homes.

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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 and Trails

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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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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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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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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Designing a Revitalized Community

A community isn’t magically revitalized by spiffing up a building or two. Creative vision, thoughtful planning, and revived key places and structures can impress and energize locals and visitors alike, enhancing pride of place and making further changes seem not just possible, but desirable.…

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The Dam Plan – A Place For All

There has been an urgent call recently to connect people back to natural places, especially in urban settings. Research shows people are more likely to advocate and care for their environment when they have a strong attachment to a place. In Des Moines, one of the greatest resources we have—the reason the city is located here in the first place—is the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers, which flow through the metro and connect south of Principal Park.…

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