9 Ways to Make Housing for People

9 Ways icons in two rows, with DBA logo at the bottom right
We have crystallized our design approach into a suite of complementary strategies—ranging in scale from urban to intimate—that guide us at every step of the design process and can support others in their design thinking.

Layered together, these “9 Ways to Make Housing for People” combine to heighten the effectiveness, utility, comfort, and enjoyment of a completed building or community.

Reweave the Urban Fabric

Create, repair, and enhance connections within existing neighborhoods.

Make Big Moves

Design a bold and interesting building form.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Concentrate premium materials at points of shared enjoyment. Keep it simple everywhere else.

Activate the Edges

Energize the streetscape with a generous, mixed-use ground floor.

Be Welcoming

Set a positive tone with a bright and engaging entryway.

Cultivate Connection

Place compatible uses together to add convenience, support social encounters, and build lasting bonds.

Enlightened Circulation

Bring light and fresh air into hallways and stairs to connect with nature and encourage walking.

Art For All

Use art to invigorate common spaces, help with wayfinding, and create a strong visual identity.

Get Personal

Reflect the character of the community and offer opportunities for personal expression.

You can see examples of this framework in action as you scroll through our portfolio, or learn about the 9 Ways in depth in our new handbook 9 Ways to Make Housing for People, available from ORO Publications.