Urban Design, Streetscape and Transit exist anywhere – downtowns, residential neighborhoods and rural communities. These spaces are often referred to as Great Streets or Public Places. Streets are our most fundamental shared public spaces, but they are also one of the most contested and overlooked. The street was “the first institution of the city,” as architect Louis Kahn once wrote, and even if we don’t always recognize it, streets are still a powerful force in shaping our physical and mental landscapes. In many of our own lives and experiences, they are sites for both celebration and rebellion. They can be stages for summer block parties and holiday parades, they are also the place we gather to express public dissent. We design streets to function well on the level of everyday experience, and provide opportunities for people to connect in a way that no other public space can.
“There is magic here, the delight in being not quite lost and not quite found. I step off the trail, following an unnamed stream, scrambling over downed trees through a ravine of crumbling shale, the water milky with silt as it cascades over tiny falls. The sun dances with the stream and the hardwoods. When I take off my boots and splash in the small pools, I feel the cool of the mud between my toes. In the distance, the sound of the city comes and goes. Civilization is so close and seems so far, and in that toggle is the wonder of an urban park, nature’s playground.”
– Ken Otterbourg.
We design parks and greenways with the potential of unlimited recreational use for people with all abilities, all ages, and every preference of recreation whether they run, bike or walk, or even people simply looking for a place to sit and relax. As the areas that we live become more congested, the need for green open spaces becomes more important. The most livable cities are the ones that have the best parks and spaces for outdoor recreation.
The buildings that house our courthouses, government agencies, post offices and libraries are often impressive but uninviting. At their best, they nurture and define a community’s identity by instilling a greater sense of pride, fostering frequent and meaningful contact between citizens, providing comfort in their public spaces and encouraging an increasingly diverse population to use them.
We work with the architects, municipalities and cross-sector community partners to improve health, education, and quality of life. We strive to create a campus or stage where friends can meet, lunches eaten, celebrations held, and economic and cultural exchanges of all kinds take place to help to build a better sense of community.
Institutional and municipal projects includes designs for campuses for governmental buildings and schools of any kind. DG2 Design believes in lifelong learning and interaction. Our designs connect all children, their families, students, employees and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based solutions and broad-based collaboration. Together we can create a world in which everyone, whether they are a child and an adult, can play, learn and grow a lifetime in nature, while inspiring and connecting ideas from around the world.
DG2 Design takes pride in working with developers and engineers to design environmentally responsible communities constructed in harmony with nature. These developments are derived from reality-based, economically viable designs that reduce environmental degradation and provide its residents with a healthy community. Such communities are walkable, beautiful and designed to last. The single largest cost saving strategy is early integration of sustainable design practices. Please contact us at the beginning of your project for maximum cost benefits.
The idea that nature is also infrastructure isn’t new. But it’s now more widely understood to be true. Nature can be harnessed to provide critical services for communities, protecting them against flooding or helping to improve air and water quality, which reinforce human and environmental health. When nature is harnessed by people and used as an infrastructural system it’s called “green infrastructure.”
We design systems of corridors or greenways by utilizing green infrastructure to enable movement through neighborhoods and communities. We address the needs of wildlife, which are increasingly threatened by climate change and habitat loss, by constructing wetlands, greenroofs and other vehicles to incorporate nature in to the overall plan. In essence, we create spaces that can be used to help and preserve wildlife, while lessening the impact of rain and drought. Lastly, we work with communities that want to incorporate green infrastructure in to their transportation systems such as great streets and rain gardens. By incorporating nature into the design, we are both protecting nature and the designed landscape.
For many of us that have spent a huge part of our youth tree-climbing and playing in the creeks, we have developed a passion inside us that can’t help but incorporate nature into any “play” space. Due to shifting societal priorities, children today have far fewer opportunities to engage in these types of open-ended activities than their parents did just a generation ago. Studies show that children without access to green space suffer significant setbacks in social and motor development. By getting children outside and providing them with time and places for free play in natural environments, we help to increase their attentions spans, creative thoughts, and the desire to learn through exploration, making for healthier and happier kids.
When nature is a regular part of children’s lives, they have higher levels of confidence, better organizational and leadership skills, and exhibited fewer problematic behaviors. As landscape architects, we create opportunities for children to safely explore and play in nature parks, schools, playgrounds and learning centers, which allow children the opportunity to discover the plants and animals living there, as well as notice the natural rhythms of their environment.
The connection between people and nature is vital to our health. It is not only limited to our interactions at hospitals or treatment facilities, but in every aspect of our lives. The principles and practice of therapeutic garden design can enrich our experiences in all landscapes. When we get closer to nature—be it an untouched wilderness, an image of a bird in a tree, a patch of grass or a wildflower garden—we do our overstressed brains a favor. When we design for seniors and people with dementia, veterans with PSTD, children battling disease or the people caring for the patients, it is important to remember nature is a critical component in their healing process. We understand that we are designing to not only connect people with nature in their time of need, but cultivate a lifelong passion for it.