Twentieth Century Neighborhood Planning Initiative seeks to return
successful early town and neighborhood planning techniques to the
development of modern towns and new neighborhoods. By focusing on the
work of American planners like John Nolen and the Olmsteds, this
initiative emphasizes the importance of providing public open space in
compact, walkable communities. One product of this ongoing initiative is
the publication of the book, Civic By Design: John Nolen's Lessons and
the New Urbanism, written by Low with Thomas Hanchett. One example of
the inspiration found in Nolen's work is the pinwheel square
incorporated into Vermillion, a DPZ Charlotte project in Huntersville,
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Light Imprint is a planning and development strategy that emphasizes sustainability, pedestrian-oriented design, and infrastructure efficiency in the creation of compact, mixed-use communities. At the same time, the approach reduces the infrastructure costs of a community. Light Imprint introduces transect-based environmental methods as part of a stormwater management system. It has a tool box of techniques to handle stormwater, an environmental challenge that plays a major role in shaping cities and towns.
DPZ Charlotte created Light Imprint while working on the plan for Griffin Park in South Carolina. The idea was to provide the developer an alternative to the expensive conventionally engineered methods of collecting and disposing of stormwater. In the comparison, the Light Imprint method provides a 31% cost savings over the conventional methods and infrastructure.
Elaborating on this sustainable approach to urbanism, a group of urban designers, passionate about sustainability, published the Light Imprint Handbook: Integrating Sustainability and Community Design (version 1.3) in 2008. Working at DPZ Charlotte, the Light Imprint team created a matrix of more than sixty tools. Used collectively at the sector, neighborhood, and block scale, these tools provide techniques for paving streets and walkways, channeling and storing water, and filtering surface runoff before release into the underground waster table. When done thoughtfully, this seemingly mundane stormwater management not only improves the environment, but also can make neighborhoods more beautiful and livable.
We are available to conduct workshops that teach Light Imprint to architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, planners, and community stakeholders. Workshops have been held in different parts of the United States. Most workshops include working sessions that give attendees the opportunity to draw a Light Imprint overlay on a project.
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An initiative to provide Katrina-inspired Learning Cottages as an alternative to mobile trailer-style classrooms was launched by the Civic By Design Forum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Learning Cottage concept developed as a result of informal discussions with concerned citizens following a Civic by Design Forum presentation on the Katrina Cottage (a permanent housing structure designed to offer a dignified alternative to FEMA trailers).
Learning Cottages are flexible, aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective buildings that meet the ever increasing demand for additional school classrooms. Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company’s (DPZ) Charlotte office spearheaded the Learning Cottage initiative to develop the concept with a team of volunteers. The three Learning Cottage concepts, which range from coastal to traditional to modern, were designed by the Charlotte office. The concept includes floor plans and elevations for the three different Learning Cottage prototypes as well as a basic aesthetic code. Both one-story and two-story classroom cottages have been designed; both are designed to be ADA compliant. Additional concepts developed include larger buildings to serve as gymnasiums, cafeterias, auditoriums, libraries, and administrative offices.
If built with panelized construction techniques, these attractive, permanent structures can be built for approximately half the per-square-foot cost of typical school buildings. Since Learning Cottages can be quickly constructed onsite, they can provide additional classroom space when needed or replacement classrooms for outdated buildings or mobile trailer units.
When several Learning Cottages are built on a central location in a traditional neighborhood, they can form a school campus within walking distance of nearby children. The layout follows the classic American campus plan with buildings forming quadrangles around green open space.
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Inspired by the Slow Food movement, DPZ Charlotte head
Tom Low is promoting Slow Urbanism.
Slow Urbanism encourages people to create whole neighborhoods; to celebrate local community
building traditions; and to take timethis is the important (and fun part)to
enjoy community life with family and friends. The Slow Urbanism motto is "Make Haste Slowly."
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