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Evaluating The Design And Planning Services Of The Arlington Urban Design Center: Clients' Perspectives

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Evaluating The Design And Planning Services Of The Arlington Urban Design Center: Clients' Perspectives

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Title: Evaluating The Design And Planning Services Of The Arlington Urban Design Center: Clients' Perspectives
Author: Zhou, Yunhui
Abstract: In North Texas, recognizing the potential benefits of combining community service and outreach, three design centers, the Arlington Urban Design Center (AUDC), the Dallas City Design Studio (DCDS), and the Oak Cliff Storefront (OCS) were established since 2009. A fourth design center is also in the process of being established in Waco. Similar to their counterparts across the U.S., these centers were established to provide design and planning services to cities, communities, institutions, and private owners. Although they are widely reviewed in a broad expanse of scholarly literature (Hardin, Eribes, & Poster, 2006; Forsyth & McGirr, 1999) very little is known about their impacts from the perspectives of the beneficiaries' of these services.This research focuses on assessing the design and planning services of the Arlington Urban Design Center, the first design center established in North Texas, by evaluating clients' perspectives on the services the center provide. The clients in this research are defined as private land owners, communities, city departments, institutions, investors and others who used the center's design and planning services over a three-year period. The research also reports on the AUDC's design and planning impacts from the view of other stakeholders (Arlington city planners, UTA deans, and student interns) in order to understand the varying viewpoints of the AUDC's services.This research primarily follows qualitative research methods (Taylor & Bogdan, 1997) and evaluation techniques (Rossi, & Freeman, 1993) to assess clients' perspectives on the design and planning impacts of the AUDC. A number of interviews are also conducted with other stakeholders (Arlington city planners, UTA deans and student interns) to ascertain their varying viewpoints on this topic. Systematic review of the City of Arlington's project archives, as well as passive observations on constructed projects, are also utilized as supporting procedures to document and illustrate the types of design and planning activities undertaken by the AUDC. The findings of this research illustrate that the clients are benefiting regularly from urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, planning, and even interior and graphic design services which correspond with the overall mission of the AUDC. However, clients' also seem to be interested in additional services such as civil engineering and construction related issues. Clients seem to be interested in AUDC's services primarily due to its no service cost, visionary design ideas, and partnership opportunities they provide with the city and the local institutions. In conclusion, understanding clients' and other stakeholders' perspectives toward the AUDC's design and planning service are beneficial to the future of the AUDC, as well as other service-learning programs to understand and better respond to the needs of the beneficiaries of these centers. Additionally, knowing clients' needs and thoughts could benefit landscape architecture by not only exposing students with real-life design and planning problems but also informing design professionals about business development and consulting services with these centers.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10106/9625
Date: 2012-04-11

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