Urban Design Element

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Urban Design Element

Throughout Omaha, growing numbers of citizens are beginning to believe their city can and should be a better place, a community that respects its natural environment, fosters civic pride and celebrates the diversity of its neighborhoods. They’re also beginning to realize that how a city looks and feels and how its many parts connect with one another relate directly to its potential for transformation.

In 2003, Omaha by Design partnered with the City of Omaha to create the Urban Design Element, a planning tool that establishes the city’s long-range policies, goals and standards to guide its physical development. It consists of 71 recommendations in three areas: Green Omaha, which seeks to preserve and enhance the city’s natural setting and public park system; Civic Omaha, which seeks to define and improve the city’s civic places and public image; and Neighborhood Omaha, which seeks to preserve and enhance the diversity of the city’s residential neighborhoods. The Urban Design Element was approved by the Omaha City Council and incorporated into the City of Omaha’s Master Plan in December 2004.

In 2005, Omaha by Design began focusing its energies on bringing the public, private and philanthropic sectors together to implement the Urban Design Element’s recommendations. The highest priority was given to amending Omaha’s existing zoning and subdivision codes and adding new muncipal code provisions to reflect those recommendations.

In 2007, the Omaha City Council approved a groundbreaking package of Urban Design Code Revisions and Additions. The product, a collaborative effort, was developed by a volunteer Technical Advisory Group comprised of development and design professionals and others representing civic interests, the city’s planning staff, city officials, Omaha by Design and the project’s nationally renowned urban design consultants – Johnathan Barnett, Wallace Roberts & Todd LLC, and Brian Blaesser, Robinson & Cole LLP. Barnett authored a chapter on the Urban Design Element process for 2006’s “Urban Planning Today, A Harvard Design Magazine Reader.”

Today, Omaha by Design continues its efforts to implement the remaining Urban Design Element recommendations. Fund raising is conducted to execute Green Omaha, Civic Omaha and Neighborhood Omaha projects. For more information, call 402.934.7055 or email info@omahabydesign.org.