Blog

Civic Ecology: A Citizen-Driven Framework for Suburban Communities

by | December 9, 2013 0 Innovations, Urban Design + Planning

This paper was presented by Tim Smith at the 50th International Making Cities Livable Conference on June 26, 2013 at The Governor Hotel  in Portland, Oregon. Tim was also interviewed as part of this conference on Citizen Engagement via Civic Ecology. Reshaping suburbia suggests a shift toward mixed use, green buildings, complete streets, densification and […]

Love in Sustainable Design

I’ve been passionate about good design and inspiring places most of my life.  Over those years and the centuries before, styles and fads have come and gone, ideas about what good design is, and ways of building things have all shifted significantly.  Without delving too deeply into the reasons, it seems fairly safe to say […]

Civic Ecology: A Citizen-Driven Framework for Suburban Communities

by | July 18, 2013 2 Urban Design + Planning

Reshaping suburbia suggests a shift toward mixed use, green buildings, complete streets, densification and transit oriented development… in other words, greener, more efficient forms of suburban “hardware.” While these strategies may lead towards greater efficiency, transformative change will require deeper intervention beyond re-forming and efficiency. Suburban areas must be re-imagined as whole communities animated by […]

The Dollars and Sense of Green Design: A Hospitality Study

At SERA, our work in the hospitality industry focuses on blending design, guest comfort, operational efficiency, and sustainable initiatives. About two years ago, I was talking to someone from a major hotel brand, who thought that green Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E) added an extra 10% to the costs of a hotel refresh project. My […]

The Challenge of the Creative Class – A Follow Up

by | April 3, 2013 5 SERA General, Urban Design + Planning

In 2011, we wrote about Portland’s Creative Class slump, noting that, despite being generally regarded as one of the country’s preeminent “creative class” cities, Portland has failed to translate its reputation for livability into real economic gains. Given the city’s persistent struggles with unemployment, underemployment, and low wages (despite attracting artists, designers, intellectuals, hipsters, and […]

Celebrate Lafayette: Young SERA Designers Win Competition

Occasionally, a group of emerging designers here at SERA will pool their talents and take on an independent design challenge. Such was the case when Krystan Menne, Kristin Slavin, and Jodi Hanson heard about the “[Imagine Downtown] Lafayette, LA” open-ideas competition a few months ago. Not only did this interdisciplinary team of designers dive into this […]

People Love What They Help Create

by | March 21, 2013 0 SERA General, Urban Design + Planning

We have recently referenced some of the exciting augmented reality work we’ve been working on, but did you know that we’ve been using various technologies to engage the public during planning projects since the early 2000s? One of our goals at SERA has been to always communicate planning problems and potential solutions in ways that […]

Can Interactive Tech Lead to Better Design? Part 1

The traditional design process is being rethought with the introduction of new technologies. But what’s exciting to see is the way digital advances in other industries are influencing the way we think in the architectural world. Did you know that the wildly popular video game of the 1990s, Quake, has had a profound impact on […]