Planning & Urban Design

We like to think Big and plan for small details.  Since our design work is so heavily focused on people and their tasks, we approach planning the same way.  What do people need?  Then we develop a strategy for how this might unfold as a big picture.  Plans only come to life with an action plan of steps to move it forward.  A plan only conceived at 30,000 feet does not have the power to create great places for people. It may look cool to the birds, but how will people thrive in the spaces? We dream about the places and experiences of the people at ground level and all of the amenities and features they will need.  Placemaking to us is the same design process as indoors, simply without conditioned air.  We would love to discuss our point of view on pedestrians, but this entire booklet is not large enough for our thesis!

Placemaking at Arbors at Maitland Summit

Placemaking isn’t limited to the large urban scale. At Intersect we know that the best places big or small start with great design. At Arbors we focused on nodes of activity each with its own unique identity to give residents a variety of places to relax and play.

Coldwater Planning

When an urban building becomes functionally obsolete, too costly to update and doesn’t contribute to the street, opportunities for new places present themselves.  In Coldwater, the proposed removal of an old funeral home opened the door to create a place for community celebrations at the center of town, which is missing today.  The new event lawn with loggia for farmer’s market, pavilion for indoor events, performance stage, memorial and great human comfort amenities creates a Place for all to experience throughout the year.  The design also links the current identity of the “Four Corners” with City Hall uniting in a strong civic presence for Downtown Coldwater.

Crosstown Kalamazoo

The advent of Euclidean zoning proliferated the separation of our built environment with singular uses starting in the 1920’s.  This caused a severe decay of our traditional highly walkable and mixed-use neighborhoods.  This can be seen prominently in Kalamazoo at the suburban style strip center located in the area defined by Crosstown, Westnedge, Howard and Park Streets.

Intersect was engaged to spark a rebirth of this important place which is the connector between neighborhoods and the southern urban gateway into Kzoo.  The proposal includes:

  • Reduction of the massive singular retail building in favor of more fine-grained urban buildings
  • Human scale proportions and highly detailed pedestrian environment.
  • Parking field distribution into smaller areas between/ behind buildings.
  • Mixed-use; Residential over retail/ office.
  • Range of retail store size options to support local business growth.
  • New to Kalamazoo;  Urban Townhouses.