Beyond the Bubble

Place making is a key component of smart growth. It goes beyond the color bubbles of a land use plan to focus on a community’s physical form and its public realm. It is about changing existing settings and new developments into more vibrant people-oriented places. Interconnections, usability and ambiance are as important as functionality and accessibility.

In addition to the macro level of city planning, my work has often dealt with the micro scale of the built environment. Area plans and form-based standards for site, public space, building and streetscape design are tools for creating walkable neighborhoods and viable business districts.

  • Foster “pride of place”. Clean it up and green it up.
  • Dreary shopping centers and ugly big boxes are old school.
  • Turn retail gray fields into mixed-use gold fields.
  • Pay attention to small scale and the quarter/half mile walk.
  • Respect context, while embracing new ways of building.
  • Community design and “sense of place” matter.
  • Consider form and function together.
  • Take cues from New England towns and European cities.
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