Glad you asked!
Business as usual is not sustainable. In many cities, there are gaps – in knowledge, in resources, in priorities, in decisions and in actions. 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.
There are realistic, affordable steps city leaders can take right now to bring people and perspectives together and get our communities back on the path to a healthy and prosperous future. 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 are not interested in designing expensive infrastructure projects that take years to get built with money cities don’t have. We’d much rather partner with community leaders to get things done in less time with the resources you do have.
☞ Understand and communicate fiscal liabilities and opportunities to close the funding gap.
☞ Identify, connect, and align people and resources in the community to make meaningful progress toward shared goals right now.
☞ Build complete neighborhoods and grow a self-sustaining local economy where current & future generations want to—and can afford to—live and work.
Is your community struggling to find the resources to keep up with growing infrastructure, service and amenity needs and expectations? Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels implementing policies and procedures you know won’t lead to the type of community your residents desire? Is there tension within your local government because you’re all coming from different starting points? Then you understand that business as usual is broken, and status quo has to go.
The first step to moving beyond business as usual is finding a common language that can be used to affirm desired outcomes with a broad group, and then align resources and actions to achieve those outcomes. We’ve found that fiscal resilience and analysis can be this common language, helping to frame discussions, inform decisions and prioritize investments for complicated topics such as land use and growth management, infrastructure and economic development.
Our presentations, podcast, workshops, network and staff augmentation services are all built around the goal of improving awareness about issues, sharing best practices and inspiring more people to lead change in their community. 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.
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.
Go Cultivate! Blog and Podcast
Workshops and Walkshops
Go Cultivate! Online Network
University Guest Lectures
Keynotes & Presentations
Educate & empower: Our workshops help city leaders diagnose, understand, and explain their city’s financial situation—and get a clear idea of how to realistically close their resource gap. Learn how fiscal resilience can provide a common language for framing key decisions around complex issues like land use, zoning, infrastructure, and economic development. Learn a framework to connect people and resources in your community to make immediate and meaningful progress toward shared goals—with resources you actually do have.
Connect & grow: Get connected to like-minded folks within city governments who are frustrated by the status quo, and who want to learn, discuss, and share actionable steps cities can take to become stronger & more resilient—socially, economically, environmentally, and fiscally. Regular deep dives into specific topics that matter to your city, case studies, implementable solutions, Q&As with us and expert guests, monthly book club, and access to a focused group of your peers who share our passion (and yours) for making meaningful change right now.
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.
Too many plans are wish lists without much (if any) consideration of fiscal, environmental, social and political realities, and overwhelming lists of implementation recommendations. We do things a little differently. Our planning work always begins with an analysis of your city’s development pattern and business model to determine what your resource gaps are. Then, we work closely with the community to identify and prioritize implementation efforts that intentionally close this gap over time. Most importantly, our implementation approach focuses on connecting resources throughout the community to work together toward common goals. We call this cultivating community.
Our Cultivate Community Framework and Program 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.
Fiscal Models & Analysis
Downtown, Corridor and Area Plans
Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies
Citizen Led Implementation - Cultivate Community Program (CCP)
Pflugerville: Fiscal Model & Land Use Analysis
Bastrop: Fiscal Model & Land Use Analysis
Brownsville: Fiscal Model & Land Use Analysis
Frisco: Downtown Master Plan
Royse City: Comprehensive Plan
Farmers Branch: Eastside Comprehensive Plan
Sachse: Comprehensive Plan
Fate: Unified Development Ordinance and Focus Area Master Plans
Dallas: Park Benchmarking and Economic Impact Study
Rockwall County: Open Space Master Plan
Do the math: Every project we take on begins with doing the math. Revenue/acre and ROI mapping, fiscal impact models, and other financial assessment tools that help you quantify your true service cost liabilities and identify areas where investment will get the highest return. Pictures are always helpful, so we’ve built a separate site with lots of maps and graphics to explain our process and how some of our clients are applying. Check it out by clicking the button below!
Build momentum incrementally: Our alternative to traditional comprehensive planning. Community-specific programs where we assemble a local implementation team and work alongside you to collect, test, and implement citizens' ideas to improve their neighborhoods—quickly and cost-effectively.
Making progress as a community ultimately involves taking action. This could entail making changes to strategic planning or regulatory documents, such as 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.
The question at the heart of every design project we undertake is: “Will this make your community more equitable, environmentally resilient, and fiscally strong?” Our designs genuinely reflect residents' input, prioritize people and place over cars, and help improve the financial health of your community. We are strong advocates and designers for walkable neighborhoods, active transportation, green infrastructure, and incremental development.
Neighborhood Street Design
Site Development and Design
Low Impact Development + Green Infrastructure
Royse City: Howard Street Improvements
Royse City: Old Town/Wood Street
Dallas: Cedar Springs Streetscape Improvements
UNT Drainage Improvements
Coppell: Southern Bell Street Reconstruction
Miscellaneous Site Development Projects
Fort Worth: Near Southside Open Space/Green Infrastructure Concepts & Economic Analysis
Fort Worth: Central Arlington Heights Green Infrastructure Concepts & Economic Analysis