A Year of Reflection

As we begin wrapping up 2019, our firm is taking time to reflect on the goals we set out to achieve and recognize where we still have room to grow. This year Urban Design Perspectives actively maintained a list of goals which aligned with who we are and who we would like to become. This became the framework for our programming and collaboration intentions. Kicking off the year, we set goals via a series of questions to assure we are continuing to move forward with intention. Those being: What is our story? How will we get better? and How will we serve others?

What is our Story?

Founded in 1999, Urban Design Perspectives is celebrating 20 years of practice. This year has been one of significant growth as we have begun to align the goals of both our personal and professional lives. This created an opportunity for us evaluate the intentions for our practice and take necessary steps to assure we are moving forward in the direction that makes most sense for us. Developing this self-awareness was one of our major goals for 2019 and it resulted in setting the foundation of our firm’s practice.

How will we get Better?

Setting intentions as we move forward has been the driving force of our practice this year. As we wrap up 2019, UDP has taken the time to reflect on our achievements. One of the most significant being the framework set forth by our SHAKE initiatives. SHAKE stands for Service, Honesty, Adaptability, Kindness and Experience, and they are the set of values that propel our firm forward as we consult and engage with our community. We used SHAKE as the framework for our firm culture, our relationships with our clients, and for our community engagement pursuits. Kicking off the year, Urban Design Perspectives utilized our partnerships and collaborated with Common Sense Consulting to put on our first series of SHAKE Events which focused on wellness and engagement of the community.

Continuing our pursuit of knowledge has also been an important goal for Urban Design Perspectives. This year our firm decided to start a book club, reading books that both educate and inspire us in both our professional and personal lives. Starting off with “Becoming” by Michelle Obama and closing out the year with “The Post Carbon Reader”, we were able to gain a wealth of knowledge that naturally aligned with our firm’s goals for leadership as well as social and environmental equity.

Additionally, our firm set goals this year to seek out new opportunities to engage with our community. We had the pleasure of participating in the 2019 AIA Women’s Leadership Summit held in Minneapolis this year. To be selected as one of 10 firms to host a happy hour for these women from around the country was a great honor and offered us an opportunity to share our goals and achievements as a small firm while learning from other women in the profession. Urban Design Perspectives was also selected to be highlighted at this year’s University of Minnesota Supplier Diversity Expo. These opportunities have allowed us to step outside our comfort zone and celebrate our story.

How will we Serve Others?

This year Urban Design Perspectives made significant strides in our volunteer and mentorship endeavors. An important goal we had was to begin fostering the next generation of designers through exposure to the profession as well as educating the community on sustainable practices. We were able to utilize our relationships with our community, partnering with 21st Century Academy for our first STEAM Camp called Camp SEE Architecture which focused on architecture and sustainable energy. By the end of this week-long camp, the scholars had learned how to draw, measure, 3-D model and calculate square footages. They also had opportunities to visit different architectural projects throughout Minneapolis, allowing them to see the possibilities of architecture and design.

Closing out this year, we have been able to reflect on some of our proudest accomplishments. As we continue on in our practice, we plan on taking the lessons learned from this year and apply them to our next set of goals for 2020. We are excited to see what the New Year has to offer!

Happy New Year,
Jessica Holmes