| 1 Info Gathering |
|Like Sherlock Holmes on the hunt for clues, the team will need to assemble data to solve the unique design mystery.|
|Jeff Schommer, CharretteCenter|
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The first task to be completed for any urban design process is the gathering of information. How can a designer possibly expect to draw up a design for a community if they know nothing of the context of that community? Information Gathering gives the designer background information; it gets the designer to a level of understanding from where an appropriate vision can be created.
There is a lot of information that is needed to get the designer to that level of understanding: contextual history, market analysis, environmental studies, to name a few. Each locality is going to have its own unique set of information. For example, if your city sits on a river, the flood plain and flood history is important information for the designers. Similarly, if a neighboring community just added a new residential subdivision, the designers need to know so that they can plan with that in mind.
Some of this information can be shared through documents, photographs, maps and GIS surveys. Other kinds of information are best gathered through interaction with the stakeholders of the project. This is why public participation is so important in the design process; because it plants in the design team the necessary seeds from which high quality and locally appropriate designs will sprout.