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This map of an urban riverfront is a glimpse at the design process in action.

During a design process, sometimes it’s difficult to make the creative leaps between the rigorous research phase and concept development. I like to call this “analysis paralysis”. Visual tools in the design process can help designers bridge that gap.

I created this map for an urban riverfront redevelopment project along the Wabash River in Indiana, which affectionately became known as the “butcher's map” for its resemblance to butcher’s cutting charts. Here, riverfront development meant to fuel economic, ecological and cultural growth among the two towns that bracket the river has to delicately manage dozens of owners and uses, from pharmaceutical operations to a college campus to municipal stormwater treatment plants—and a river that regularly floods.

In an effort to stem analysis paralysis as we moved forward with generating design alternatives, I parsed the project area into zones based on landscape types, use and ownership. Then, I evaluated these zones according to five different development themes, such as its potential to have buildings, to be a restored landscape, or to host recreational or cultural amenities. The result is, the higher a zone’s score, the hotter the color, and the more potential it has for sustainable development. Ultimately, this process resulted in a visual, hierarchical agenda for concept development.

Work done while at WRT.

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In college, I studied industrial design at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, for its aspirations to create beautifully useful things and for its focus on how a good design process leads to a better solution.

I’ve worked at Margie Ruddick Landscape, a boutique landscape design office with top-notch ambition. I learned about reading landscapes, thinking spatially and designing for the ecologies of a place. I worked on projects like eco-resorts in India, vast urban waterfronts in New York City and sustainability guidelines. Studying an environment’s peculiarities—its ecology, economy, culture and ambition—taught me new ways to be a better designer.

I’ve also worked at Wallace, Roberts and Todd, LLC (WRT), where I discovered ways to integrate visual communication with planning and landscape strategies. My capabilities grew to include environmental and ethnographic research, program development, mapping and visualizations, site design, communications design and management on projects ranging from national parks to green stormwater infrastructure design. I became the first art director within the planning and urban design practice, driving the communication of complex design and planning issues from the beginning of a project through to its final documentation. My approach helped to facilitate many nationally recognized projects, and ultimately, I helped to build the planning practice to include place-branding strategies and innovative methods that broke through the traditional boundaries of planning. In 2008, I became an Associate and built the visual communications practice to include fulltime graphic design staff.

I have had an ongoing role within the industrial design program at the University of the Arts as a guest critic and lecturer, and also as an adjunct professor of two-dimensional design techniques.

In 2010, I launched my independent communications design practice, and I continue to work with pioneers in planning and design to communicate their issues and ideas.

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Get in touch! Email me at andee@andeemazzocco.com or call me at (215) 880-4406.

© 2016 Andee Mazzocco, Whole-Brained Design, LLC. Website by Andee Mazzocco with a little help from her friends.