The Urban Grid: A good thing or a thing of the past?

As planners, civil engineers and landscape architects, we at Firma Design Group often are encountered with a very important decision:

Do we propose an urban grid to our clients, or do we respond to the natural environment (i.e. topography, trees, etc.)?

As you can read in this article by “Better Cities & Towns”, there are a lot of goods and bads with urban grids:

It does seem to us that the urban grid is making a comeback and will remain with us through the foreseable future.  We usually respond per specific site, but if the site is adaptable to the urban grid, we propose it!


Model Complexes: Sorrento East, Dublin

During the past few months, Firma Design Group principal Michael Cook and Landscape Designer Steve Kovanis have been quickly pulling together landscape construction documents for the Piazza Model Complex at Sorrento East in Dublin, California.  It was a whirlwind of work and this past weekend, Michael visited the model complexes to take pictures and do one last check of the installation.  I have included a couple of pictures here, but please see the following websites for more information:

Firma Design Group is uniquely qualified to assist you in your development projects, single-family custom homes and other residential developments.  We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and we are always open to reviewing a potential project for a new or existing client.

We are also very proud of the level of effort put forth by our staff in turning this project around.  We know that when it is decided to move projects forward, that usually there is a very short timeline.  We have the staffing levels and are very easily adaptable to what our clients need as far as the level of effort put forth.

Upgrades and changes afoot at Firma Design Group

Always looking to improve our company, we have a few important news items to share with you that have taken place over the past several months:

  • In September, Michael Tarnoff, Firma Principal and Vice President of Engineering, became certified as a Qualified SWPPP Developer (QSD), and Qualified SWPPP Practitioner.  Firma is pleased to offer full SWPPP services to our clients.
  • In November, we acquired the landscape architecture practice of Ralph. J. Alexander & Associates (  Ralph passed away on October 7, 2011 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.  We brought on board both of Ralph’s employees, Oswaldo Mesia, and Carolyn Kintzley.  Mike Cook, Firma Principal and Vice President of Planning and Landscape Architecture, worked for Ralph for many years before forming Firma Design Group with Marty Goldsbrough and Michael Tarnoff.  It has been a smooth and seamless transition for Ralph’s past clients, and we’re proud to be taking over for such a well known landscape architect.
  • In November and December, we expanded our offices by several hundred square feet to accommodate our growth.  Come by and see our upgraded space.