Our work on parks, and park system planning, highlights and builds on what nature already created, yielding designs that aren’t just beautiful, they’re thoughtful and ready to delight visitors for generations. That’s why we consider it to be a first step in envisioning the future. Through collaboration with our clients (municipalities developers, etc.), we determine the goals, visions and aspirations for the park development. The results of this effort determine the course of the comprehensive plan details, including facilities, size and intended uses. Because our plans’ vision never stops at the Grand Opening, we include a long-range plan meant to shape the direction, development and delivery of parks for years to come.
Low Impact Design (LID) refers to managing stormwater runoff at the source (on-site) using green infrastructure techniques. Keeping water on-site reduces the need for much larger and more costly management systems. It also helps prevent flooding by reducing the amount of water that enters surface waterways during flash flood events. Conventional stormwater management uses a pipe-and-pond technique which replaces natural systems with concrete, pipes, ponds, and extensive infrastructure. These systems channelize the water and increase its velocity; thereby greatly increasing the risk of erosion. The goal of LID is to replace these pipes and ponds with soft engineering practices that: filter, infiltrate, store, and evaporate the run-off on-site. Incorporating LID early in the planning and design of a project has proven to be much more cost-effective while also providing a community benefit and a much better-looking project. Each of these major components of LID is discussed below. Read more >
One of the first steps of every project is analyzing the site’s existing environmental conditions. Some of these conditions are regulated by city, state and/or federal agencies and can potentially kill your project before it ever begins. Too many existing protected or heritage trees may prevent a building from being able to fit on site. Too steep of slopes can also prevent buildings as well as roads from being constructed, or greatly increase the cost to build. Wetlands are an extremely regulated feature and must be protected or mitigated for. Other conditions such as depth to water table, depth to bedrock, soil composition, endangered species, karst features, and floodplain can all decide the fate of your project. Read more >
As land planners, 7gen starts every project looking at the opportunities and constraints provided by the land along with the related regulating government authorities’ (RGA’s) codes and ordinances. The land’s terrain plays a major role in the project’s design when these opportunities and constraints are considered along with the RGA’s codes and ordinances. Extreme flat or steep slopes increase the challenge of the design. Relocation of dirt, rock, or other land materials and construction of retaining walls and/or extreme building foundations increase construction costs of development. In today’s environment of limited attainable housing costs, development and building costs must be an important consideration when planning a neighborhood. Read more >
Nearly every community in the Houston region will include a water plant, wastewater plant, lift stations and detention ponds. So why is it that these necessary components are so negatively visible in some communities — and almost invisible in others? In rare instances, some of these components actually work to beautify and enhance communities! Read more >
There are many occasions in which a first meeting with a developer is spent processing the numerous reasons a plan (that was initially done by the engineers or architects) is not meeting the needs of the developer’s project vision and goals. Many developers attempt to minimize costs during the due diligence phase by having these professionals make an attempt at the initial plan. Unfortunately, skimping on this phase could be costly later or lost revenue never realized. Read more >