Discovery

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

Transforming Community Downtowns

Historic districts are an important aspect to our cities and towns; helping communities realize their full potential is something we are passionate about.  Currently, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are a funding mechanism that assists Iowa communities like the City of Adel, City of Storm Lake, City of Montezuma, and the City of Cherokee to transform their downtowns into vibrant business centers. …

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The Impact Placemaking can have on a College Campus

The process of “placemaking,” a concept that for half a century has been more common to the public realm, can help transform private campuses and campus life.

Maple trees loom large in the history of Simpson College, and in the icons and narratives created to celebrate it.…

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Green House model redefines culture of senior living and elder healthcare

As the population of elders in America is experiencing considerable growth, decades-old nursing homes around the country are in various stages of deterioration and elder care providers in need of solutions are exploring innovative alternatives to the traditional, institutional, and medical-based environments of generations past – finding answers in models that are based on ‘home’.…

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Branding our Parks System

Creating a Competitive Edge – with a Coordinated Parks Graphic System –

Our park systems have a multitude of competitors vying for their user’s eye and attention. Between man-made destination water parks, to indoor digital driving ranges, to digital devices which encourage park users to look more at their phone than their surroundings, our parks and park systems are in need of attention.…

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How Communities can benefit from Greenways

Long and linear, greenways are grassy or vegetated areas that can be created and cultivated or reclaimed and improved for public recreation use. Unlike a typical park, greenway trails are designed to get people somewhere, so they may connect parks, link communities or even create a regional or statewide network for non-motoroized transportation.…

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Farming the Gold of Design Residency 2015

Our 2015 Design Residency topic focused on “Urban Alchemy.” We wanted to identify how cities can combine existing and proposed urban elements and spin them into social, economic, and environmental gold. We engaged ten of the top collegiate students from across the Midwest in our design residency process, and challenged them to address a loosely-bounded district in downtown Des Moines near the riverfront that included 24-acres of proposed “re-invigoration” projects.…

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Natural lighting in architectural design: a conversation with architect Stuart Shell

Why is natural lighting such an important part of today’s design philosophy? How does natural light accentuate other design elements? How long has the emphasis on natural light been such a primary focus of architectural design, and have the appetites for daylighting from building owners changed over the years?

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A simple renovation: Transforming office culture by improving indoor environmental quality

Last year, RDG realized a remarkable shift in employee satisfaction, though the accomplishment was not achieved through salary adjustments or management policies. However, we did strategically enhance aspects of the physical office environment by using research-based assessment tools to measure occupant comfort, and then completed a small renovation project targeting the areas identified.…

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Four steps in the High Performance Design process

“To measure is to know. If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” – Lord Kelvin. This same thinking can be applied to the built environment and the design process to attain maximum operation results.

The diagram below identifies the 4 steps to achieve high performance design and the goals associated with each step.…

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Forcasting: The State of Collegiate Recreation

Based upon a recent user survey conducted by RDG and Athletic Business magazine, the future as seen for collegiate rec indicates movement toward a technologically advanced but individualized campus recreation center experience. The years that separate a building’s initial planning and its completion make it imperative that owners and architects are accurately able to forcast for future trends” ..…

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