Author Archives: rdgeditor1

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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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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Clear Strategic Principles to Planning

This is first 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!

It’s a basic tenet of planning that clear, aligned, strategic principles, articulated and understood from the highest level and throughout an institution, are foundational for a successful plan.…

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Creative Placemaking: Storytelling About People and Culture

The term “Creative Placemaking” has become one of those overused phrases or buzzwords that has either lost its meaning, or perhaps, never achieved the significant denotation that would help establish a common language. How did this happen? So often, we begin to categorize and label, to help us talk about concepts that aren’t always so easy to understand.…

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