The DPZ Initiatives
DPZ as a Think Tank
As a company focused on improving the quality of life by enhancing the built environment, DPZ is continuously employing an analytical approach to making more complete, attractive, and sustainable places, one project at a time. The evolution of the following initiatives has resulted from the close scrutiny of numerous social, health, economic and environmental challenges affecting a variety of clients. In many cases these concerns have proven common enough to warrant additional investment in research and study. We encourage all who are interested to share and expand upon our research.
Lean Urbanism occupies the emerging seam between the pilot projects of Tactical Urbanism and the policy-focused national agendas of New Urbanism. It calls for a return to common sense in the processes of building, incubating small businesses, community engagement, and learning a trade.
Light Imprint New Urbanism is a practical DPZ planning and development strategy more effectively, economically, and sustainably manage stormwater and infrastructure investments. Light Imprint respects, incorporates and enhances existing terrain, geographical conditions, and hydrology within a project’s green network.
Agrarian Urbanism is a method of design that incorporates and intensifies agricultural activity across the Transect, promoting a variety of associated economic, environmental and social benefits from a neighborhood’s center to its rural edge. The production, distribution, availability, and the quality of food are topics that have informed a growing movement among the general public and decision-makers.
The majority of DPZ’s projects are set within incomplete or damaged urban contexts. DPZ’s three decades of planning and coding for places fragmented by automobile-oriented, segregated-use zoning has resulted in a toolbox of techniques for completing and retrofitting dysfunctional sites.
DPZ's approach to walkable, mixed-use urbanism is particularly relevant for people who do not drive: the very young and the elderly. The Lifelong Neighborhoods initiative recognizes that economic vitality, stability, and health cannot be maintained over an individual’s lifespan without a coherent and supportive physical neighborhood framework.
The SmartCode is an integrated land development ordinance into which zoning, subdivision regulations, urban design, public works standards and basic architectural controls are integrated into one comprehensive and streamlined document. As a unified ordinance, it effectively spans and coordinates the regional, city, neighborhood and building scale of development.
DPZ's plans are often accompanied by Form-Based codes keyed to a Transect, an ordering device adapted by DPZ from the world of science. DPZ's Transect is a master planning tool that guides the placement and form of buildings and landscape, allocates uses and densities, and appropriately details civic spaces, including the selection of tree types and lighting poles for thoroughfares.