Planning Principle #7: Simplify

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

Our goal is to provide a vibrant and safe pedestrian environment that encourages community interaction and helps to create a sense of place. In looking at organizing principles, we have learned that there are many layers that underlie a successful community design. Undoubtedly there will be conflicting interests in reconciling all the design factors, and it would be easy to lose the forest for the trees, so this brings us to our 7th principle:

7. Simplify: The design should be clear, understandable and beautiful – especially public space in order to create a sense of comfort and harmony for the community. Charlie Mingus once said that “Anyone can make the simple complicated; creativity is making the complicated simple.”

It has been said that simplicity is often elusive, but almost always present, you just have to know how to look for it. To be sure, the process of finding simplicity is aided by experience, and the knowledge of how to create priorities, but it is also rooted in the values of function and efficiency. It is often found by modeling the natural world around us.


Seven Planning Principles for Successful Community Design (1-7) 

1. THE GRID: Regardless of specific form and geometry, spaces should be laid out in a network of pathways to maximize interconnection.

2. SMALL BLOCKS: Individual and collective spaces should be scaled down in such a way as to allow the most convenient access, with a priority always to the pedestrian.

3. NO BACKS: Blank walls, limited use zones, and other inhospitable spaces should be avoided in order to promote a safe environment.

4. ON FOOT: The experience of a place should be defined equally by the entry and approach as well as the arrival.

5. TO DWELL: Sidewalk and corridor environments are as much for dwelling as they are for passage and should be places that encourage interaction, collaboration and restoration.

6. MIXED UP: The right programmatic blend of uses and the way in which the functions interact should set the stage for a dynamic community environment.

7. SIMPLIFY: Design should be clear, understandable and beautiful – especially public space in order to create a sense of comfort and harmony for the community.


We asked Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP, Senior Principal of Bialosky Cleveland to discuss the Seven Planning Principles his firm uses for community design. This is a closer look at Principle #7: Simplify.

Want to dig deeper? Join us on Wednesday, July 20 at 2 p.m. EST for a free webinar featuring Jack and his colleague David W. Craun, AIA, LEED AP. Principal and Director of Design at Bialosky Cleveland.


About the Firm: 

Bialosky ClevelandBialosky Cleveland is one of the region’s most successful architectural design firms, as evidenced by awards that honor the firm’s practice management, design excellence and commitment to community. The multi-disciplinary firm has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects as an AIA Ohio Gold Medal Firm, the highest honor awarded by its peers, in recognition of great depth and breadth, a collaborative environment, and having a cumulative effect on the profession over a substantial period of time.

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