Main Street Design Workshop
Featuring Randy Wilson, AIA
Monday, October 1
10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
The Mill Conference Center
600 Russell Street | Starkville, MS 39759
Registration & Coffee
Getting the House in Order: Practical Design and Planning Tips for Downtown
No one would ever think of inviting people over for a party without first getting their house in order. From mowing the lawn to trimming the hedges to vacuuming the carpet to washing the dishes, these are the practical things one must do to be a consummate host. However, when it comes to our downtowns, sometimes we forget to "put our best foot forward" and wonder why our "guests" are not impressed. In this highly visual session you will learn practical design and planning tips that can both activate your downtown as well as plan your preferred future so that all of your guests leave impressed.
Moreover, this session provides a self-help diagnostic tool that helps Main Street programs evaluate their community and identify practical responses to design and planning issues that range from gateways to streetscapes, from parks and open spaces, to facades and much, much more.
Walkable Communities: Practical Quality of Life for Pedestrian-Friendly Downtown
Can the "walkability" of your Main Street district translate into dollars and cents? We know that enhancing the pedestrian orientation of Main Street communities does more than keep your design committee volunteers occupied; it creates a cohesive atmosphere, improves safety for motorists and pedestrians, builds foot traffic for businesses, encourages interaction in public spaces, and adds vibrancy to the street.
In his groundbreaking book, “Walkable Cities,” Jeff Speck answered this question and many others in academic fashion. What this session endeavors to do is to simplify the ’10 Steps of Walkability’ that Speck identifies and couple it with wisdom from other practitioners such as Dan Burden and Jan Gehl such that we understand the best practices for walkability from a well-rounded perspective.
Best of all, this session synthesizes these best practices into a set of practical applications on a scale that is applicable to most of our smaller, rural cities and towns. By presenting practical and thoughtful solutions to walkability in our downtowns, we stand to add myriad quality of life benefits to our communities.
Randy Wilson, AIA
President, Director of Design
Community Design Solutions, Inc.
In 2005, Randy Wilson established Community Design Solutions (CDS) as a community-based planning firm devoted to delivering creative design services for community building. The firm specializes in charrette facilitation, photo rendering, Main Street design services, and general community design, planning and preservation services. Prior to forming CDS, Mr. Wilson served as the full-time architect for the South Carolina Main Street program. During his tenure with the Main Street program he garnered unparalleled experience in looking at the unique assets and challenges of historic central business districts and providing appropriate design solutions. Mr. Wilson continues to serve in this role on a consulting basis.
While serving as the architect for South Carolina's Main Street program, Mr. Wilson provided technical design assistance on thousands of downtown buildings and facades. He has been a part of over 300 charrettes --on-site design workshops that engage the public in an intensive, interactive planning process-- ranging from studying downtown master plans, to gateway and corridor studies, to marketing and community identity creation, to economic development strategies. His work has taken him to diverse destinations such as Milford, DE, Detroit, MI, Laramie, WY, Anoka, MN, the Arkansas Delta, and the Island of Dominica.
In 2008, Mr. Wilson also became the Director of Design Services for the Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA). In his role with MMSA, Randy played an instrumental role in leading resource teams along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destruction. His team's assessment and implementation-focused planning work for Gulfport led to their continued master planning involvement in Biloxi, Bay St. Louis, Waveland, Picayune, Ocean Springs, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Moss Point and Pascagoula.
In addition to his roles with Community Design Solutions, Main Street South Carolina, and Mississippi Main Street he has served as Design Services Director for Clemson University's Institute for Economic and Community Development hosted at the Sandhills Research and Education Campus in Columbia. Prior to his career in community design, Mr. Wilson was involved in private architectural practice for over 14 years. During his private practice tenure he designed numerous award-winning projects such as the offices of the Municipal Association of South Carolina and St. Peter's Catholic Church School in Columbia. He is active in the community, having served as Vice-Chair of the City of Columbia's Design/Development Review Commission, the boards of Historic Columbia Foundation, The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands, Leadership Columbia, and is the Associate Pastor for Worship at Riverbend Community Church.
One of Mr. Wilson's areas of expertise is the utilization of photo re-imaging technology to present proposed design changes and future visions of a community in an easy-to-understand "before & after" photographic medium. In this capacity, Mr. Wilson has spoken at national conferences about the tools and techniques he has developed for this capability. He provides advanced photo re-imaging training and is a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
Mr. Wilson received his architecture degree with honors from the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University, and did subsequent graduate work at the East China Institute of Technology in Nanjing, China. Mr. Wilson has been a registered architect since 1990 and is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is a frequent speaker at preservation and community planning based conferences.