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What we're seeing


Entries in Norfolk (2)


The Campus Neighborhood


PNC's investments (PNC 3 tower shown at the left) in downtown Pittsburgh have been key to the remaking of nearby Market Square (foreground) and the inspiration of redevelopment around it. PNC's new tower is shown going up in the background.

Traditional downtown anchors moving from isolation to integration

Downtowns are evolving into their next generation. The past sixty years saw them change from dynamic regional centers to cores struggling to find their place amidst steadily de-industrializing economies. They had been divvied up into pods: some for work, others for entertainment, and still others to host the civic functions of a city. But all of that is changing. No longer comprised of isolated districts, twenty-first century downtowns are rebuilding themselves once again as integrated places. They are leveraging a creative mix of employment, education, recreation, commercial programming, and residential streets to attract an active, full-time population and justify successive layers of investment. In this move, two types of civic entrepreneurs are taking hold in many of these Investment Ready Places: corporate citizens and downtown universities. Both are growing new types of campuses that are proving to be powerful agents of change in regenerating city centers.  

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Designing in the Commons

Build a Better Block in Norfolk, Virginia (image: Virginian-Pilot)

The design charrette as part of implementation

The contemporary incarnation of the design charrette has attempted to take design, architecture, and planning out of the studios and academies and into the vernacular lives of the places in which we work. It has taken great strides to break down the silos between professional specialties and to reconnect the "expert" to the lay person, whose previous role had only been to deal with the expert's professionally built results for about thirty years. These intense, collaborative design sessions have lead to quick testing and decision making for long-ranger visions. At the end of a four-to-six day charrette, you typically have a plan to further refine and advance. It has proven to be a highly effective approach. 

But the charrette is evolving into another dimension and taking on a much bigger role. No longer a one-and-done flash in the pan, the model for a charrette, like great neighborhoods, is becoming a succession of ideas, events, 3-dimensional testing, and discoveries.

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