Established in 1995, the Charlotte office of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company offers a full range of planning and architectural services. We work with landowners, developers, neighborhood advocates, planning departments, and other governmental bodies to improve the quality of life in their communities. Our main focus at DPZ Charlotte is on the charrette process; it encompasses place making from the creation of the master plan to the implementation of standards for a new or retrofitted community. A comprehensive charrette may range in scale from a regional plan to an infill project on a city block.
DPZ Charlotte's staff is trained in architecture, landscape architecture, and planning. Our office is equipped to take advantage of the latest software tools available. When necessary, we team up with expert consultants in other fields such as retail development and traffic engineering to provide a comprehensive team for any development opportunity. Complex projects like Vision Plan for the City of Camden and the master plan for Habersham are just two examples of the work of DPZ Charlotte.
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DPZ Charlotte offers a full range of planning services. The main emphasis of DPZ Charlotte’s planning is on place making. We are involved in our projects from the creation of the master plan to the implementation of standards for the community. All of this is accomplished through the charrette process. Codes written may include architectural codes, land use codes, and street standards. Light Imprint overlays have been created for master plans to illustrate a low cost alternative to traditional stormwater management engineering on recent charrettes.
DPZ Charlotte is responsible for thirty-four urban designs that have won numerous awards. The
AIA Blue Ridge Chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded the City of Roanoke Market
Study the Blue Ridge Region Honor Award for Excellence in Urban Design in 2007. The Roanoke plan also received the Commonwealth Award of Excellence in Downtown Development from the Virginia Downtown
In 2005, two DPZ Charlotte projects won national awards. The Sierra Club gave Southside (located in
Greensboro, North Carolina) the National Award for Top Ten Developments. The new town of Habersham
(located near Beaufort, south Carolina) received the National Award for Best of American Living
from the National Association of Homebuilders and Professional Builders Magazine.
DPZ Charlotte follows the lead of the firm's principals in using New Urbanist planning to
combat suburban sprawl. Town plans undertaken range from traditional neighborhood developments
like Griffin Park in South Carolina to large residential resort
developments such as Potts Mountain
The key to the success of DPZ Charlotte's town planning projects is the comprehensive charrette
process. It provides a forum for all the stakeholders involved in a proposed development to meet with the
design team to provide input into the plan. Over the course of the week or ten days of the
charrette, many ideas can be introduced; the design team tests each one. The final product is a master
plan built on consensus.
More information on town planning projects.
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The staff at DPZ Charlotte actively participates in many charrettes. The charrette process is the result of experience accumulated by the DPZ principals and staff members. DPZ Charlotte uses the comprehensive charrette process to create plans ranging in size from the neighborhood to the region.
A charrette gathers all interested and affected stakeholders to meet with the designers as part of the planning process. Most charrettes produce a full set of documentation in a week to ten days. This efficient and cost-effective means of arriving at consensus for a plan tends to move projects more quickly though the approval process. The openness of the charrette, which includes public meetings and presentations, keeps the community informed during the ongoing process. The list of potential charrette attendees includes a wide variety of citizens and organizations.
The DPZ Central web site has more information on charrettes, public sector charrettes and private sector charrettes.
Organizing a charrette begins weeks or even months before the design team arrives at the site. All components of the charrette are planned and staged by a trained DPZ Charrette Coordinator. The steps in the charrette are carefully organized to make the best use of the client’s resources.
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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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Architectural services at DPZ Charlotte are varied. Some designs are as simple as a modern interpretation of a single-family bungalow. Other designs include an array of buildings from classrooms to gymnasiums that could form a complete Learning Cottage campus.
Thomas Low, AIA, the principal in charge of the office, is a licensed architect who has worked in a variety of firms since 1979. His experience covers a full range of building types from townhouse design to retail facilities. Low guided development of the Learning Cottage initiative through the design of the classrooms to a layout based on the great American tradition of campus planning with courtyards and plazas.
By using prototypical architectural designs, DPZ Charlotte is able to have renderings of complete streetscapes prepared during charrettes. These renderings allow developers and other interested parties to visualize the community more easily than they could by viewing only the plan.
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Recent workshops conducted by DPZ Charlotte cover subjects including Light Imprint, campus design, and John Nolen’s town planning techniques. These workshops provide education and experience for architects, landscape architects, developers, public officials, investors, environmentalists, planners, civil engineers, and community activists.
Throughout 2008, members of the DPZ Charlotte staff traveled around the Eastern Seaboard conducting workshops on Light Imprint. Cumberland Region Tomorrow (a private sector organization working with the public planning sector) and AIA Tennessee sponsored “Planning and Designing for the Natural Infrastructure: The Neighborhood and Community Scale – Light Imprint Integration of Sustainability and Urbanism” held in Nashville. The two-day workshop included a trip to the Monteagle Assembly for a walking tour of this sustainable community, which is featured in the Light Imprint Handbook.
CNU Carolinas held a two-day workshop, “Green, Urban, and Healthy: The Light Imprint Workshop,” at Habersham near Beaufort, South Carolina. This workshop also included a walking tour of the community.
In the fall of 2008, Thomas Low, the leading expert on Twentieth Century urban planner John Nolen’s techniques, presented Masters’ Classes on “John Nolen and today’s urbanism” at an AIA Continuing Education Workshop in Asheville, North Carolina, and at the Traditional Builders Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
This is just a sample of the DPZ Charlotte workshops. A complete listing of workshops is available upon request..
Low and other members of the DPZ Charlotte staff are available to conduct workshops. For information on scheduling a workshop, please contact: email@example.com.
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Staff at DPZ Charlotte are available give lectures on many topics. New Urbanism, traditional town planning, early Twentieth Century planners, neighborhood planning, landscape architecture, urban agriculture, and the Light Imprint Initiative are specialties. Other areas of expertise include school architecture, community visions, traditional and historic architecture, affordable housing, sustainable community design, and the architecture of Charlotte and North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Tom Low, the Director of Town Planning for DPZ Charlotte, is a nationally known expert on early Twentieth Century urban planner John Nolen. During the fall of 2008, he gave lectures on Nolen’s work at the Traditional Builders Conference in Chicago and in Asheville, North Carolina. As an invited speaker to the Seventh Annual Fall Environmental Forum on Sustainable Communities, Low presented “Planning and Developing for Tomorrow: Light Imprint – facilitating innovative development” at Elon University in North Carolina.
National and local audiences for lectures cover a variety of groups including attendees at the Congress for the New Urbanism, the American Institute of Architects National Convention, the International Council of Shopping Centers annual meeting, both the North and South Carolina Smart Growth Conferences, the Seaside Institute conferences, the Hope VI Creating Communities conference, the North Carolina American Planning Association Sustainable Communities conference, and the viewers of the Prestige Cable Television system.
This is just a sample of the DPZ Charlotte lectures. A complete listing of lectures presented is available upon request..
Low and other members of the DPZ Charlotte staff are available to conduct workshops. For information on scheduling a workshop, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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DPZ Charlotte is actively working to provide opportunities for educational events across the United States. Recent workshops and lectures for architects, landscape architects, developers, public officials, investors, environmentalists, planners, civil engineers, and community stakeholders covered many subjects. They include New Urbanism, traditional town planning, neighborhood planning, Light Imprint, campus design, and John Nolen’s town planning techniques.
Additionally, Tom Low traveled to Rome, Italy, to serve as a visiting studio professor for the University of Miami School of Architecture in the summer of 2008. He served as a visiting critic for several architecture studios at various colleges and universities.
Another method of providing education is the publication of books and articles. DPZ Charlotte published the Light Imprint Handbook: Integrating Sustainability and Community Design (version 1.3) in 2008. Tom Low also published Civic By Design: John Nolen’s Lessons and the New Urbanism, an illustrated book written with Thomas Hanchett. Staff members are frequent contributors to The Town Paper, The Charlotte Observer, and other newspapers and magazines. This is just a sample of the DPZ Charlotte publications. A complete listing of books and articles is available.
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DPZ Charlotte is a leader in outreach efforts to communities in need of resources regarding town and community planning. Staff members are active in professional organizations such as the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Urban Land Institute, the American Planning Association, the U. S. Green Building Council, and the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America.
In 2005, Tom Low started the Civic By Design Forum (a committee of AIA Charlotte). The Forum, which meets monthly at the Levine Museum of the New South, draws participants from a wide cross section of Charlotte and the region. Speakers presented programs ranging from bicycle ordinances for Charlotte to the newest trend, urban agriculture. Neighborhood activists, developers, builders, and homeowners served on a panel that discussed teardowns in the Myers Park neighborhood. The Mayor of Belmont, North Carolina, and his planning staff joined a large group of architects, landscape architects, developers, transportation planners, and ordinary citizens in a three-hour exercise to produce five different master plans for a tract along the Catawba River. To date, hundreds of people have attended the many Forums. A complete listing of Forums is available.
Other staff members are also involved in outreach activities. Nora Black participates in “Connect: The Greater Charlotte Bi-State Regional Visioning Project” organized by the Centralina and Catawba Councils of Governments. Monica Carney is currently serving on the Mixed Income Housing Coalition. The goal of the organization, which is sponsored by the Urban League, is to promote a fine grain mixture of housing, employment, retail, and education to allow citizens to live in a fully integrated community with easy access to their daily needs. Guy Pearlman, an active member of professional planning organizations, chaired the Programs and Events Committee for the Urban Land Institute and served on the organizing Board of Directors of the Carolinas Chapter the Congress for the New Urbanism.
Outside of the office, we continue our outreach efforts. Our staff members participate in a range of activities including coaching a youth basketball team, chairing a local homeowners' association architectural review committee, and volunteering with statewide hunger organizations.
Whether working through professional organizations or volunteering in community groups, we are working to make our city, state, and region a better, more inclusive place in which to live.
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