A meta-plan is the long-term vision establishing core principles and the deep concepts (DNA) that embody values, regulate growth, set the rules of engagement, and informs overall behavior and operations for the life of a project of any size or complexity. It applies to varying time horizons,
and is the imprint for endurance and performance.
A city is a product of time and circumstance.
Traditionally, urban form evolved over time, in cycles that were generational. Now, the cycles of change are faster due to the speed and quantities of capitalflows. This overwhelming force tends toward formula and homogeneity.
Thinking becomes predictable, innovation incremental, and investment strategies have shorter time horizons. Now, it is evident this has become a formula for failure. Endurance is a by-product of a responsive system that has a capacity to adapt to uncertainty and innovation is the basis for evolving to more complex and adaptable forms.
Adaptability is the determinant of an organizations survival.
Our Humanity is defined by symbolic thought and language, which is the most fundamental tool for becoming a social being. Civic life is essential to social and cultural evolution and urban public space is the venue. Without it we go dormant.
Urbanization is a dynamic process characterized by a formlessness best described in terms of flows, intensities, densities, patterns, and textures.
Urban design can be conceptualized as operating at the intersection of
three disciplines: urban planning, architecture, and landscape architecture.
In the context of a broad array of political, economic, social, and environmental forces of varying type and degree. The shaping of urban space and how it is inhabited and used is the primary focus. The impact of urban structures upon human health, behavior and thought is what is at stake.
Our world is radically changing again, never to return to its original state.
Our capacity to adapt is contingent on a deeper knowledge, fluid imagination, thinking across disciplines, and working collaboratively. We begin by restoring long term visions in a short cycle world, renewing our collective values, and conserving our resources. The basis for this model derives from systems ecology which takes a holistic, transdisciplinary approach to design of cultural, economic, and environmental systems.
Our objective is to create a complex integrated eco-system of society, economy, and environment. This coupling is the basis for long term survival.
Our focus is on the interactions within (parts) and transactions between (whole) materially and metaphorically.
Our analysis is time based (growth and transformation) and event based (placement and adaptation)
Our approach is to interrogate the ecological economics of cooperating systems by addressing the short term benefits of co-evolution over the long term.
As evolution unfolds it has no stake in concepts of past or future. Its’ reality is now.
“…Those who are not overcommitted to the status quo are in the best position to take advantage of change and innovation, and this certainly applies at all scales, in all systems, natural, human, and institutional. Adapting to change is the most important determinant of any organizations survival.”—Warren Bennis
restore, renew, revitalize
We have worked with endangered cultures and subcultures with a mission executed in phases. The first being listening and learning, the second being, interacting with them creatively identifying the assets and resources, defining the problem and the variables, testing assumptions, and implementation.
“Listen to our stories, learn our ways, and observe our rituals, then begin the creative process of conversion into Architecture. This will help us rebuild what has been lost”, a Lakota Elder instructed.
We have collaborated with The Lakota to rebuild a Tribal University,
Tibetan Buddhists to restore their Architectural and monastic heritage,
Theater groups expand their organization and enhance their performance,
Dance Company and a Music School to give them a permanent home,
Educational Institutions adapting to expanding enrollment and curriculum.
We need bold and inventive approaches and solutions to the critical problems we have created due to single-minded thinking, short term strategies, and sporadic altruism. Three profound transformations are underway on Earth, right now must be factored into every project in some way.
Urbanization - two-thirds the worlds population now lives in cities. This is altering impact on land, resources, and wealth and well being.
Climate change is awakening us to seeing the Earth and its’ systems as a whole, and towards more responsible stewardship and management of resources.
Biotechnology is a dominant global engineering tool that is essential to managing
Population growth and concentration, and competition for resources.
Conservation Land Planning in California, Montana, Hawaii
this area of our practice focuses on the ‘business of staying in business’ the question is for how long. Is it possible to have a short cycle strategy and endure for the long term? Simply stated, no. The global economy is now so large that society can no longer safely pretend it operates within a limitless ecosystem. Economy is best viewed as one of the three intricately-linked areas of restorative development and growth – along with environment and society. All three must be re-coupled with equal standing. Sustaining our quality of life, economic prosperity, environmental health, and long-term survival demands that we adopt new ways of doing business. We need to remake commerce to encourage diversity and variety, responding to the enormous complexity of global and local conditions.
Re-conceptualizing shopping centers and malls
Strategic thinking - beyond retail
Visioning a re-coupling of society, environment, economy
The quality of a life can be enabled and enhanced by the quality of the spaces.
Generally, the values and vision of a client are expressed symbolically and strategically in a total project. The exterior form and materiality of a building may be adapting to context, conforming to the internal functions, or responding to technical performance criteria, such as climate. Within the building, the considerations shift scales and purpose as they address how we live, learn, work, pray, and play.
Continuity from outside to inside and the framework for overall spatial flows and organizing strategies is set by the interior architecture. The next scale shift is to space/room types, the furniture and equipment that serves specific activities, and finally light, color, surface and materials, which address the sensuous dimension of experience. The significance of our tactile sense in experience and understanding of the world can not be underestimated. If the sense of vision, our most privileged, is balanced with all our other senses, we begin to apprehend a ‘total aesthetic’ and the essence of a lived experience.
The mission of non-profit organizations may vary but they often have a common purpose, they are ‘human change-agents’. They exist to bring about a change in individuals and society. Their product is the well being of people.
Each non-profit organization is unique in their anatomy, their mission and institutional structures. A working environment that is both responsive and adaptable to change can amplify the mission, enhance the work flow, and inspire the beneficiaries.
The meta-planning process is a tool for critically analyzing all facets of an NPO, mission, resources, people, work flows, facilities, economies, and constituencies.
The design process, focusing on space, working relationships, form, and urban context, synthesizes corresponding alternative optimum solutions. Sometimes there is no intention of building. The intention may be to ‘see’ the entire organization more thoroughly.
We have worked with many types NPO’s over the years, in the arts, in education, and in social engagement services.