The firm's approach to urban design places emphasis on creating effective working relationships between the multi-party interests who are participants in civic and community projects. Most of our work involves public-private partnerships between cities and the private sector. Projects are completed in collaboration with an associated team of professionals in economics, transportation planning, environmental sciences, landscape architecture and engineering.
For nearly twenty years, Gast Hillmer's projects have consistently given strong emphasis to creating compact, pedestrian and transit-oriented development. This has been a guiding principle of our downtown work in cities such as San Diego, Scottsdale, and San Rafael; of citywide urban design plans for communities throughout California; and master plans for public buildings. San Diego's award-winning "Uptown District" provides an example where our work was instrumental in turning a 14-acre obsolete commercial center into a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use district combining neighborhood shops, a community center and 313 dwelling units.
The firm recently completed master-planning for the Agnews West community in Santa Clara, California, a pedestrian-oriented mixed-use new neighborhood of 2,000 dwellings, community commercial center, elementary school and park, located in the heart of Silicon Valley on the site of a former state hospital. The project, completed for the State of California Department of General Services and now under construction, was recognized with the 2001 "All American Cities Award" by the National League of Cities.
Gast Hillmer's work in citywide urban design has been nationally-recognized for providing innovative concepts and implementation measures to preserve environmental resources. Beginning in the 1980's, we formulated comprehensive design and technical development guidelines for communities who were concerned with protecting their natural landscapes, historic resources and community character. The work demonstrates the potential of compact, sensitively-designed new infill development to coexist with existing community fabric while adding new economic activity, housing and public amenities.
The firm received the American Planning Association's National Planning
Implementation Award for the San Rafael Hillside Design Guidelines, and
American Planning Association regional awards for the San Diego County
Administration Center Master Plan, San Diego County Design Guidelines and San
Rafael Downtown Community Plan.