We are facilitators and collaborators who happen to also be engineers, planners and sustainability specialists

We are a team of civil engineers, planners, and sustainability specialists with expertise in land use planning and zoning, municipal finance, transportation planning and design, stormwater management and green infrastructure implementation, and urban design and placemaking. But, design of elaborate, expensive infrastructure projects is not what we do. 

The leaders of our organization spent the majority of our careers with large firms designing complex, expensive projects, only to later realize we were making things more economically fragile and unsustainable. We acknowledged that before we could do more of the types of projects our communities need, we'd have to change how people think about the way we have been planning and building our cities and neighborhoods. Rather than sit back and wait, we started VERDUNITY to help lead this change.

Bridging the Gap

Very few cities have the resources to provide quality of life amenities and address mounting infrastructure maintenance needs, and most citizens are not willing and/or able to pay for the true costs of everything they want. Residents and businesses are willing to pay more for some things though, if they align with their interests and priorities. Strong, vibrant communities have engaged citizens who care deeply about their neighborhoods and those around them, trust their elected officials to manage resources responsibly and equitably, and empowered to actively participate with their time, talents or financial resources. This alignment is more likely when all parties have a deeper understanding of the broader issues facing communities, resource constraints, and available resources.

Yet, in many cities, there are gaps - in knowledge, in priorities and in actions. A unified community begins with establishing a shared understanding of where your city is, how you got there, where you want to go, and most importantly, what resources you have to work with to progress forward. Our approach brings elected officials, staff, residents, businesses and developers together to establish a common platform of understanding, focus energy into constructive dialogue and realistic actions that are mutually beneficial, and empower local citizens to lead change. 

We help city leaders bridge these gaps so that priorities are aligned, citizens are more engaged, and public and private resources are invested in projects that maximize return on investment and make the community more financially strong and resilient.


Core Service Areas

Educational Sessions and Learning Journeys

Build a shared foundation by expanding perspectives

 
Royse City CPAC Learning Journey
Royse City Wood Street Walking Tour
IMG_6786.JPG

We strongly encourage communities we partner with to bring elected officials, staff, residents, businesses and developers together to share perspectives and establish a common platform of understanding so that feelings, interests and resources can be focused into constructive dialogue and actions that are mutually beneficial. We utilize a variety of presentations, facilitated discussions and learning journeys (walking tours) to improve understanding of issues and opportunities in your community or for a specific neighborhood or project.

These can be done independently for different community groups, integrated into strategic planning or budgeting efforts, or as the first phase of a larger planning or project effort.

Recent Work

  • Fort Worth: Riverside
  • Royse City: Old Town/Wood Street
  • NCTCOG Training Sessions
  • SMU Engineering Classes
  • Presentations and Speaking Engagements

Neighborhood Workshops

Explore opportunities and identify actionable steps

Riverside High School Workshop
Garland CNU Charrette

Once a foundation of shared knowledge and perspectives is established, then your community can explore issues and opportunities in further detail and prioritize projects and investments around common goals to achieve desired outcomes.

Our assessments and multiple day workshops dig deeper into the challenges and identify short and long-term strategies that leverage available resources, maximize impacts and return on investment. Results and recommendations are documented in a "Strategic Plan for Improving the Neighborhood" (SPIN) Report. 

These can be applied to a project, neighborhood, watershed or the broader community, and can be done independently or as part of a larger project effort.

RECENT WORK

  • Fort Worth: Riverside
  • Fort Worth: Central Arlington Heights
  • Fort Worth: Near Southside
  • Royse City: Old Town/Wood Street 
  • Fate: Focus Area Master Plans
  • Garland: East End CNU23 Charrette

Planning, Engineering and On-Call Consulting

Implement and execute

IMG_3763.jpg
Near Southside Development Concepts
CNU23 Garland Legacy Charrette

Making progress as a community ultimately involves taking action. This could entail making changes to strategic planning or regulatory documents, such as updating comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances and development regulations to allow (and encourage) more progressive projects and infill efforts to occur. It could involve capital improvement projects that address transportation, stormwater and water infrastructure needs, or partnering with developers to revitalize existing neighborhoods or build new places for people to live, work, learn, play and worship in your community. But for any project to be a success, we believe it must involve partnerships and active participation from residents, local businesses and community leaders.

Our team frequently provides specialized consulting assistance to other planning, landscape architecture and engineering firms. Occasionally we lead projects ourselves. Either way, we only partner with others who share our passion and goals and who we know will bring tremendous value and innovative ideas to the communities we serve.

Many smaller communities do not have the internal resources to keep up with changing regulations and new approaches or to manage larger planning, development or capital infrastructure projects themselves. For these cities, we are available to provide input and staff augmentation for planning, development and construction activities via hourly, on-call contracts.

RECENT WORK

  • Royse City: Comprehensive Plan
  • Fate: Unified Development Ordinance and Focus Area Master Plans
  • Farmers Branch: Eastside Comprehensive Plan
  • Sachse: Comprehensive Plan
  • Sachse: Stormwater Master Plan and Utility Fee
  • Dallas: Park Benchmarking and Economic Impact Study
  • Rockwall County: Open Space Master Plan
  • Venus: On-Call Consulting
  • Fate: On-Call Consulting
  • ISI Envision Project Verification

Michael Kovacs
City Manager
City of Fate, TX

"VERDUNITY is the planning and engineering connection we’ve been looking for as city managers. They have a fiscal and environmental sustainability approach that minimizes infrastructure costs as opposed to maximizing them. Their team of professionals is intelligent, responsive, and innovative. VERDUNITY is skilled in bringing a fresh approach that is fantastic for mediating issues that often arise between developers and the City, and between cities.  We are looking forward to continuing our strong relationship with this company.”

Charles Marohn, PE, AICP
Founder and President
Strong Towns

"These guys checked out of the big consulting world and are working to carve out a spot for themselves doing principled, Strong Towns-like work. It is tough to be such a pioneer, but we need small firms of innovators like this if the Strong Towns message is going to become the default approach for local governments. If you are in the DFW area and want to chat with professionals who get it, get a hold of VERDUNITY. If you are in a different part of the country and are trying to start your own innovative firm, they are pioneering a great model for you to keep an eye on and draw inspiration from."

Suzanne Hoff
Director/President
Fellowship of the Arts, Fort Worth

"Mikel Wilkins and VERDUNITY brought the science of sustainable development to our Carter Riverside High School project, Dreaming Forward Riverside! Mikel and I met at the Six Points Urban Village Charrette that was part of CNU23. Mikel was the environmental engineer on the planning team, all of whom donated three days of their time to assist our neighborhood. He shared how storm water management will be the foundation of successful revitalization in our historic neighborhood. Since the charrette, Mikel has jumped in to assist Fellowship of the Arts with creative recommendations that have taken our project to a place of support by city council, city staff, local professionals and universities.  We are on our way to a legacy of change in Riverside with amazing public private partnerships that are making our Dreaming Forward Riverside vision a reality!"

Bill Bertera
Executive Director
Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI)

"Kevin Shepherd and Mikel Wilkins represent the best of a new kind of leader that cares not only about doing the job right, but about creating infrastructure that is sustainable  for  both this generation and those that will follow."

John F. Williams
Chairman and CEO
Impact Infrastructure, LLC

"I recently had an opportunity to see firsthand how professionals at VERDUNITY went about earning a reputation befitting of their lofty name (VERDE+COMMUNITY= "Green Community"=fiscally and environmentally resilient community).  I witnessed their professionals, Mikel Wilkins and Kevin Shepherd as they guided a major client, the Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) through the use of state-of-the-art benefit/cost/risk analysis and stakeholder outreach tools.  Their goal was to prioritize the Low Impact Development (LID) Implementation levels for the Panther Island project in Fort Worth, Texas.  Mikel and Kevin knew that the Authority needed to address the interests of a broad range of project stakeholders.  They knew that stakeholders understand that resources are scarce and the TRVA has an obligation to make the most of their investments in new infrastructure projects.  VERDUNITY prepared a comprehensive business case (the full, risk adjusted valuation of the economic, environmental, and social costs and benefits) associated with the LID options at hand.   They provided the information the TRVA needed to set priorities based on those that offered the greatest overall economic, environmental, and social returns.  They were the first planning and design professionals to use the Business Case Evaluator (BCE) for Stormwater Management, an economic companion tool associated with the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Rating System for Sustainable Infrastructure.  The BCE is an alternative to expensive, proprietary economic studies.  It has the added benefit of going beyond point and category based ratings to assign risk adjusted monetary values to elements of a project that contribute to a sustainability rating. "

Ruth Antebi-Guten, PE
Former Director of Public Works
City of Cedar Hill

“Kristin was the design engineer for a major Capital Improvements project in Cedar Hill while I served as Public Works Director. She was always professional and courteous. The project was designed well and she handled all field concerns promptly and responsibly. Kristin made herself available to answer any questions that came up during the entire project – from preliminary design through the construction of the project. She is highly responsive and she has an excellent attitude and work ethic. I am confident that Kristin will continue to shine as she grows and develops her passion for designing sustainable communities in our region.”

“Kevin was instrumental in the development of the transit oriented development concept for the City of Cedar Hill. He impressed me immediately by his ability to view challenging situations from a different perspective than the norm. Kevin is not afraid to ask difficult questions and to stretch the boundaries of possibilities in order to weigh available options to challenges that confront municipalities on a daily basis. As a Public Works Director, I was comfortable in knowing that I could reach Kevin any time I had a question that required an immediate response.”