We think, we design, we build.
Wearers of too many hats to name.
Civitas is a practice of urban designers, architects and landscape architects engaged in strategic planning for urban change and project design for built works. We are a consultancy and a design studio, advising clients on a wide range of strategies for re-imagining city conditions, and designing the ideas, craft and implementation of built spaces and systems at the scale of infrastructure.
Our commitment to critical inquiry and political acumen differentiate us from others. Making meaningful change in cities requires much more than formal design creativity. It requires design thinking, a commitment to testing assumptions, and the capacity to see issues and solutions that others miss. We listen, analyze and reframe assumptions into new propositions that have a high chance of implementation and effectiveness.
We focus on design that gets built and performs at a high level. We achieve projects that are sustainable, technically current, well crafted and lasting. We are skilled at managing consulting teams, community engagement, political processes, project delivery and construction. We have deep experience in development strategies, governance, outreach, conceptualization, visualization, and communication of complex ideas and political processes.
Sometimes the best ideas start on a napkin.
Ann Mullins and Mark Johnson, both landscape architects and urban designers, launched the idea and name on a napkin in 1983. For twenty years they grew the firm to become a national leader in project design, design thinking and thought leadership around the belief that landscape – as idea, as proposition, as place, and as living system, was the missing element in most American cities.
Now at 35 years old, Civitas is a creative collaborative of landscape architects, architects and urban designers led by a team of principals who have been together more than twenty years – but not without the infusion of younger principals who bring a new creative energy and understanding of the ever-changing culture of cities.
The most exciting stuff is around the corner.
The world is changing quickly and no one really knows what the biggest issues are or how they will affect us. Technology is changing how we connect, what we think about and how we organize around emerging issues. New issues lead to new groupings of thought and action. Old boundaries are falling and new connections are rising. What does it all mean to design?
We want to know how we can make a difference in this changing world, so we strive to stay in touch with these changes. We participate in forums around the world where issues like public health, sustainability, and social equity are debated. These conversations always lead to uncertainties like climate change, economic instabilities and a continual emergence of new ideas, propositions, and strategies. We think the future of our world lies in cities and feel lucky to have built a strong base of urbanism that we can build on. We are recognized thought leaders in this realm, but we have much to learn.
It is important that design is responsible to the people and places where we practice, and accountable to the issues that matter to our clients and their constituents. Design thinking is about asking questions that reveal the true issues, why they exist, what they mean and how they might be solved. We ask these questions and learn before acting.