We work with local governments, community based organizations, multi lateral and Non-Governmental Organizations to design and implement strategies for neighborhood development, cultural heritage and tourism, urban regeneration, and conservation of historic urban cores. We provide services in various stages of project design and planning for urban revitalization projects:
Diagnostics and Vision Documents
Through qualitative and quantitative analyses, we assess the area’s assets, potentials, and shortcomings to undertake an urban transformation project. This exercise presents a clear set of choices for policy and action to the community and the decision makers. We recommend empirically based policy choices to engage with the community by providing them with a set of options about their collective future and economic and social consequences of different courses of action. This process starts with baseline data analysis including social, demographic, and physical data. We then analyze social and political dynamics of the area, existing policies, land availability, private sector engagement, infrastructure gaps, market conditions, Small and Medium Enterprises, and growth dynamics.
Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement
We lead such projects by analyzing community networks and local dynamics. This involves researching local public, private, and nonprofit institutions, under-represented groups, and informality. We then propose an engagement strategy by identifying the best means beyond the formal and expected planning processes (for example workshops and charrettes) to ensure an inclusive planning process that can reach a wide variety of stakeholders, including those populations who may not traditionally engage in the planning process. These instruments involve social media, direct surveys, smaller forums, street-level conversations, and design charrettes among others.
Local Economic Development Strategies
Every city and every neighborhood should use its unique assets to differentiate itself from other cities and neighborhoods in order to stay competitive. We analyze cultural and natural endowments of the area and propose an asset-based economic development strategy. This includes developing livable “places” by creative place-making strategies, proposing a support system for creating jobs and developing Small and Medium Enterprises (through grants, incentives, etc), and designing cultural and natural tourism circuits to attract more visitors and increase their length of stay and spending per visitor.
Planning Framework, Project Management, and Implementation Support
We support the communities in analyzing the financial and professional capacity of private and public sectors. We develop white papers and strategy documents to provide a menu of options to the stakeholders in order to assist in choosing the right financing and implementation strategies. We identify Key public and private land holdings and private/communal and informal land ownership regimes. This type of projects also include analysis of commercial and residential landuses, selection of priority areas for intervention, assessment of cultural and environmental endowments, definition of development projects, phasing strategy, and medium and long term goals.
We provide tailored training courses for local governments on various aspects of project design and implementation, addressing regeneration and revitalization of downtowns and underused land. We believe that with the right training and minimal level of technical assistance, local planners and government officials can take on large-scale urban revitalization projects successfully. Therefore, building local capacity is our mission and is embedded in all the projects we develop.