The UNLV Downtown Design Center is a non-profit community design center located in downtown Las Vegas. It is administered by the School of Architecture at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The School of Architecture has interior architecture, landscape architecture and regional planning and architecture. As the only professional school in Nevada, the School uses the Downtown Design Center to directly engage communities and advocate for the best planned and built environments in the State of Nevada, and the Great Basin and Mojave Desert Regions.
The Center has an administrative suite with UNLV administrators, faculty and graduate assistants, two studio classrooms for UNLV students and conference room. These resources may be used to assist communities and organizations in the state of Nevada with research, design, planning, technical assistance and creative innovation. The Center can also reach back into the University to assemble teams containing needed expertise in other disciplines.
In addition to our expertise in the region, in the School of Architecture, we have specialists in education design, ecological and sustainable planning and design, agricultural urbanism, digital fabrication, sustainable arid architecture and landscapes, and hospitality design. Project types the Center can contribute to may include urban design and economic development, tourism planning, healthy communities, community gardens, land use and infrastructure and housing. We can work from research and planning to designing and building structures.
We have several means of engagement for helping communities. We may engage communities through service learning, faculty research and technical assistance. Service learning is a model where students partner with communities to work upon applied projects. The service learning model brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to community projects and catalyzes conversations about potential solutions.
Faculty research and technical assistance allow faculty and graduate assistants to directly engage problems. Faculty teams are able to create impartial research to develop evidence for best practices, use design thinking to provide innovative planning and design and help communities identify problems and opportunities for place-based solutions.
To have impact, projects should be externally funded by a partnering organization or by a grant. The Center is eager to offer its resources as an in-kind match where there is a fit with a community and can provide assistance to gain funding.