HDR Wins American Planning Association Urban Design Award
HDR was honored with the American Planning Association’s Nebraska Chapter Urban Design Award for the Ralston, Nebraska, Downtown/Hinge Master Plan.
The award recognizes visionary approaches and innovative concepts used to create a sense of place, building stronger, healthier communities. In Ralston, the plan will serve as a catalyst to encourage growth and development in the city’s original downtown and a large adjacent industrial area named the “Hinge,” which connects downtown with Ralston Arena.
“The plan gracefully combines the community need for growth and economic development with new residential options and community amenities,” said Amy Roeder, president of the Ralston Chamber of Commerce. “The emphasis on quality design helps create a unified vision that will be attractive to new and current residents, and the businesses that will grow our future.”
The strategy considered a number of factors, including existing conditions, market conditions and potential development scenarios to create a “play book” that would provide the best chance for success. As a result, the plan establishes a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development framework that emphasizes street-level activity. Buildings are interconnected by a robust mobility network serving pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and transit; and the neighborhood is interspersed with a network of parks, plazas, open spaces and trails. Emphasis is placed on the incorporation of “missing middle” residential building typologies.
HDR Project Principal Doug Bisson explains, “Activity and interest in Ralston’s downtown and Hinge are at levels unseen in the last 40-50 years. This is due to the creation of a realistic redevelopment master plan that is supported by the community, addresses developer needs and is guided by practical implementation steps. The results are nothing short of spectacular – a significant 36-unit missing middle residential project is working its way through the city’s approval process, the city has initiated the conceptual design of streetscape and plaza enhancements, and there’s a high level of developer interest in available properties.”