Saturday, December 7, 2013

Community Design Guide

Over the past few months, the City of Eugene’s Urban Design Team has assembled an outline for a proposed Community Design Guide. This non-regulatory collection of design principles and guidelines will set expectations for design excellence in Eugene and lay the foundation for achieving the community’s vision in the built environment. 

The outline of the Guide is organized into five sections that identify broad, intuitive areas of application, generally moving from large scale to small scale:
  1. Integrate nature and design for Eugene’s climate
  2. Evoke a sense of place
  3. Embrace Eugene’s most successful development patterns
  4. Bring the streets to life
  5. Leave a building legacy
Design principles identify important concepts within each section. Additionally, design guidelines provide concise, descriptive, and imperative statements under each principle. 

Broadly speaking, the Community Design Guide will represent best practices related to design in support of the Seven Pillars of Envision Eugene. More specifically, the Guide will address how design excellence can be achieved at the individual project level. While policy statements contained in other documents will set a clear direction for the community and answer important questions about how to meet our future needs, the Guide will identify specific ways to create a more prosperous, healthy and livable built environment.

A leading purpose of the Community Design Guide is to bridge the gap between policy level planning and on-the-ground projects using the language of design. Guidelines contained in the Guide will address projects of all scales, ranging from neighborhood and district planning to individual site development. The comprehensive nature of the document will make it relevant to anyone who may be involved in design, including neighbors, developers, designers, policy makers, and city staff. 

Following its initial publishing, the Community Design Guide will continue to serve as a flexible, living document that can be easily updated as needed. Accessible online, the Guide will be accompanied by additional resources such as sketches, examples, and case-studies that expand upon its principles and guidelines. Ultimately, the document will set the stage for ongoing conversation about expectations and aspirations for design excellence in Eugene. 

City of Eugene planners are asking the entire community to take a look at the draft outline of the Guide. They encourage anyone who may be interested to visit the project web site at  for more information.  The web site includes a short video explaining the background and purpose of the document. The video describes our community’s shared values, our vision for the future, and how the Guide will help translate these into the built environment. It also describes the possible format, organization, and appearance of the Community Design Guide in its final form. The completed Guide will be a user-friendly, reasonably short, magazine-style document well-illustrated with photographs, diagrams, and examples of local projects that help achieve the community vision. The intent behind this format is to capture the essence of design principles in a way that's accessible to professionals as well as lay-persons, and to inspire great design. 

After watching the video and reviewing the draft, the City asks you to share your thoughts and ideas by completing the its online questionnaire. City staff regards your input as critical to ensuring the Community Design Guide helps achieve everyone’s vision for the future. The City will collect thoughts and ideas through January 15 for this phase of the project. 

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