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  We help communities manage change to become more livable, equitable, and resilient.

David Dixon

Senior Principal, Urban Design Group Leader

Boston, Massachusetts

Residential Architecture Magazine named David to their Hall of Fame as “the person we call to ask about cities.” In recent years he’s led planning in post-Katrina New Orleans, transformed strip malls into new suburban downtowns, and initiated a broad reappraisal of the role of density in building more livable, resilient, and equitable communities.

A sought-after expert in urban planning and design, David is well known for helping create new, mixed-use urban districts (in both cities and suburbs) and the planning, revitalization, and redevelopment of downtowns.

His current and recent work focuses on urban transformations, including the reemergence of the long-depressed East Franklinton neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, as an arts/innovation district; creation of a master plan for the nine-million-square-foot, mixed-use Water Street District adjacent to downtown Tampa; and market-driven redevelopment of a public housing site into One Charlestown—a 3,200-unit, mixed-income neighborhood with no displacement in one of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods.

David’s impact hasn’t gone unnoticed—he’s won dozens of awards from the likes of the American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the International Downtown Association. A Fellow of the AIA, David was honored with their Thomas Jefferson Medal for “a lifetime of creating livable neighborhoods, vibrant civic spaces, and vital downtowns.”

Always eager to hear about the needs and challenges of cities, David encourages you to get in touch.


Urbanism is rooted in its era. Today that means seizing unparalleled urban opportunities, often disguised as challenges: economic competition, diverse communities, wellness, environmental responsibility, and equity. In March last year I presented “What is 21st-century Urbanism” to the Congress for New Urbanism’s New York chapter.

The suburban dream no longer describes how most North Americans aspire to live—shifting demographics and economic trends are creating a new generation of suburbia: dense, walkable, mixed-use—in a word, urban. In my presentation “Downtown: A new generation of suburban opportunity” for the American Planning Association back in April, I explored civic leadership, in-depth community-wide engagement, and significant planning as the three dynamics needed to get started.

Together with James Nozar, CEO of Strategic Property Partners, I presented “Downtown Planning Deep Dive” to the American Planning Association of Florida in September. Jim and I described the emerging nine-million-square-foot mixed-use waterfront district that will transform downtown Tampa—from the perspectives of the developer and the planner.

In 1961, when others predicted urban doom, Jane Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jacobs got urban resurgence right, but neither she nor anyone else foresaw trends that are turning walkable, amenity-rich urban streets into engines for a full-blown equity crisis. At my master talk for the International Downtown Association, “The Jane Jacobs Conundrum,” I spoke about three projects that reverse this dynamic by tapping into resurgent urban wealth to create economic opportunities—and neighborhoods geared to artists, entrepreneurs, and mixed-income residents.

Look for my presentation “Meeting Local Needs with Local Solutions” at the Build America Summit, November 2016.

I co-authored the second edition of Urban Design for an Urban Century: Shaping more livable, equitable, and resilient cities. From historical context to current case studies, it’s a complete introduction to urban design.

We see suburbia as the next great frontier in urban issues. Look for my book Urbanizing Suburbia, co-edited with Jason Beske, to be published next year by the American Planning Association.

Always looking to improve our cities, two years ago I wrote a perspective piece for the Boston Globe“Four ideas to make Boston’s greenway better.”

Kaid Benfield’s excellent blog at Better Cities & Towns.

Ten years from now, Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke County will be completely transformed.

The Charlotte Observer featured our kick-off for the Brooklyn Village redevelopment project in downtown Charlotte.

Back in March 2015, Jeff Speck and I were interviewed by Jamal Thalji from the Tampa Bay Times about urban design, urban redevelopment, and reimagining Tampa.

Creating a new, one-billion-dollar neighborhood from scratch—that’s our job on 40 acres of downtown Tampa.

I serve on the board of advisors for the New England chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

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