Discovery

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

Creative Placemaking: Storytelling About People and Culture

To design and create meaningful and memorable public spaces where people want to be, the growing awareness related to Placemaking initiatives must be centered on both the functional and aesthetic challenges.

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.…

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What’s So Special About that Farmhouse?

The rural areas of the United States abound with such structures, surrounded by assemblages of utilitarian farm buildings. What’s so special about this one? And what does it take to preserve its history?

A one and a half story, wood-framed structure sits just off Highway 141, south of Coon Rapids, Iowa.…

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When there’s too much and not enough

In 2014, St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota had too much, and not enough. Like many institutions of higher education, SCSU found itself with too much aging infrastructure competing for limited deferred maintenance dollars, too much capital wrapped up in facilities that didn’t meet current and future needs, and – maybe surprisingly – just too much real estate.…

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Why Does a City Invest in Restoring an Historic Property?

Hotel Maytag in Newton, IA Offers Great Reasons

“The City realized the building was going to go further downhill unless something was done. We stepped in, bought the building and began to search for a developer.”

So says Craig Armstrong, economic development specialist for the City of Newton, Iowa, about the distinctive and once-grand Hotel Maytag.…

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Historic Design Guidelines Benefit the Community

Impressive homes, churches and other historic buildings dot the Heritage Hill Historic District in Burlington, Iowa, overlooking the downtown and giving unique character to this Mississippi River town. That character can translate to visitor and tourism economic gold in a community – if property owners and community members understand both the why and the how of appropriately preserving, restoring, and/or rehabilitating historic structures.…

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Creating a Living Laboratory on Your Campus

More colleges and universities are discovering the benefits of planning and implementing campus landscapes that are more than function and aesthetics but are transforming the campus into a “living laboratory.” These integrated learning environments are fostering strategic use of the exterior environment, connecting students to real-world applications, establishing new multipurpose spaces, and will continue to evolve as education demands change.…

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Where Ladders Cannot Reach: Drone Technology and Historic Restoration

Modern technology saves time and money, and gives designers a unique view of the Iowa State Capitol Building.

The Iowa State Capitol, constructed from 1873 to 1884, has been a source of great pride for generations of Iowans. Over the last century, windows on the north and south wings of the building began to show signs of weakening and deterioration, and in 2001, RDG was contracted to take the lead on a series of major restoration projects.…

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Transforming Downtown Winterset

Communities are searching for ways to improve their local economies, enhance their quality of life and revitalize their neighborhoods while still preserving their own cultural and natural heritage. Historic preservation and heritage tourism are two prominent economic and community development strategies to accomplish these objectives.…

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Design for Their Eyes: Five Considerations for Keeping Residents with Dementia Safe and Engaged

Senior living designers discuss the critical role design plays in keeping senior living residents with dementia safe and engaged.

A senior living environment that is thoughtfully planned and well-designed enables residents with dementia to move around confidently and safely with a greater sense of independence.…

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Trends in Aquatic Centers

From zip-lines to climbing walls to spa and saunas, the trends that make your aquatic center stand out are always evolving. It can be hard to keep track of the current trends in aquatic design, let alone look forward to the future.…

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