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Reversing the Trend: How Design Professionals Can Make the World a Healthier Place

By Christina Moon, Design Leader

We’ve all read the headlines and seen the statistics. Childhood obesity is on the increase, while time spent outdoors is on the decline. As a society we know that we need to reverse this trend, and that societal norms are working against us. Children are spending less time outside for many reasons, including competition from electronic devices, increased after-school activities, little or no recess during the school day, limited access to green spaces, and concerns over safety in public and open spaces.  In addition, parents and adults may be embarrassed about their own lack of knowledge of and experience with nature; as a result they may not encourage children to get outdoors.  Educating both children and adults about nature and natural systems enables everyone to feel more comfortable in outdoor spaces.

Organizations like the Texas Parks and Wildlife are on the right path with initiatives like the Texas Outdoor Family Program, a workshop aimed at educating families about everything they need to know to have a successful camping experience. As planners and designers, we also have an obligation to do our part in reversing the trend. So, what can planning and design professionals do to encourage more outdoor exploration?  For starters, we can advocate for both programmed and unprogrammed spaces, promote the use of interpretive signage, and simply lead by example – get outdoors in our own communities.

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Construction Underway on Cane Island

By Megan French
Designer / Administrative Coordinator

Rise Communities recently broke ground on the initial phase of Cane Island, a new master planned community located just north of Interstate 10 and west of downtown Katy.  Of the approximately 1,000 acre development, Phase I consists of 295 acres and will feature 535 single family homes with lot sizes ranging from 50’ to 100’ in width.  Also included in Phase I is a community recreation center, several pocket parks, and nearly 85 acres of open space - the beginning of an extensive open space and trail system which will connect the various neighborhoods within the development.  Phase I of the project is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2015 with the entire project slated to be finished by 2020.

Planning for the remaining phases is currently underway and will include an elementary school, fire station, additional parks, amenity lakes, trail system, and an additional 465 acres of single family residential development.  RVi is providing master planning services for Cane Island.

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Chip Mills Joins Leadership Austin Essential Class of 2015

RVi is very excited to announce that Chip Mills, Project Director, has been selected for the Leadership Austin Essential Class of 2015. This elite program brings together leaders with diverse backgrounds from all over the Greater Austin area for an intensive nine-month curriculum. The Essentials Class is the flagship Leadership Austin program, focusing on regional issues, development of leadership skills, and building relationships with others equally committed to the community.

Chip has over a decade of experience in land planning and real estate development for large scale mixed-use communities as well as urban real estate and economic development projects. Chip has worked at RVi for a total of seven years, including four years prior to his term as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Zachary, Louisiana. He re-joined RVi in 2012 and has since assumed a leadership role in many key projects, including Wolf Ranch in Georgetown, Belterra in Dripping Springs, and Cordillera Ranch in Boerne.

“I am honored to be part of this year’s Essentials Class. I’m really looking forward to working with and learning from this great group of people,” Chip said.

Say congrats to Chip via the RVi Blog ››