The Memphis Area Association of Governments (MAAG) has teamed up with a professional planning consortium led by Philip Walker of the Walker Collaborative planning firm. The forming of the relationship provides MAAG with affordable planning resources for its membership. The consortium consists of disciplines in four areas, comprehensive/general planning, urban/rural design, market economics and transportation planning.
The Walker Collaborative
The Walker Collaborative (TWC) is founded upon the principle that rarely is any one firm uniquely qualified for a particular urban planning project. Rather than using a “firm-based” approach, TWC employs a “person-based” approach. TWC initiates each project by first determining the necessary areas of expertise, and then identifying the most effective individuals to form the Project Team. Team members are determined by balancing professional expertise and experience with considerations of geography, professional relationships, personalities, and planning philosophies.
Philip L. Walker, AICP – Principal
Phil Walker has thirty years of experience in community planning. His public sector experience consists of serving as the Executive Director of the Pensacola (Florida) Downtown Improvement Board (1986-1988) and City Planning Director for Natchez, Mississippi (1991-1993). From 2011 through 2013, he served as the part-time Interim Director of the Two Rivers Company, the new downtown and riverfront revitalization entity for Clarksville, Tennessee. Phil’s private sector experience includes Associate positions with Hintz-Nelessen Associates in Princeton, New Jersey, and Christopher Chadbourne and Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also had his own firm, Community Planning & Research, Inc., based in Nashville between 1995 and 1998 where he led projects for communities such as Tupelo (MS, Little Rock (AR) and Natchitoches (LA). From 1998 to 2002 he served as the Director of Planning for the Nashville office of Looney Ricks Kiss Architects (LRK) where he continued to lead numerous planning projects, including communities as diverse as Memphis, New Orleans and Bryan, Texas. He has led projects that have won awards from state chapters of the American Planning Association in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Phil Walker has consulted to the National Main Street Center and numerous local Main Street programs, and he is a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences, including those of the American Planning Association, the National Main Street Center, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Phil’s authored book entitled Downtown Planning for Smaller and Midsized Communities published by the American Planning Association’s Planners Press in 2009. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Historic Preservation from Middle Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida, and a master’s degree in Real Estate Development from Harvard University.
Robert P. Murphy, PE, PTOE, RLS – President
RPM Transportation Consultant, LLC
Bob Murphy is the President of RPM Transportation Consultants. He is a Senior Professional Engineer registered in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and California. Bob is also a Certified Professional Traffic Operations Engineer and a Registered Land Surveyor in Tennessee. Bob has extensive experience on a wide range of transportation and traffic planning projects. Since forming RPM 28 years ago, he has overseen, managed, and conducted hundreds of traffic impact studies, traffic signal warrant studies, parking studies, and transportation plans throughout his career. He has conducted numerous planning and design plans, traffic signal optimization studies, traffic signal design plans, and roadway signing plans. He has a strong reputation in the field of bikeway and pedestrian planning and design, traffic safety and accident analysis, capacity analysis, roadway geometric design, intersection design, traffic signal system analysis, parking lot and garage design, and parking analysis. Bob is highly regarded within the transportation community throughout Tennessee and the Southeast, and he has served on numerous national committees assisting in the review of national transportation engineering standards. He also currently serves on the boards of International ITE, Cumberland Region Tomorrow, and the TMA Group of Franklin.
Randall Gross/Development Economics
Randall Gross has over thirty years of experience providing services to local, regional and national governments; private companies; and non-profit agencies. He has worked on over 600 projects in 34 states and eight foreign countries, and he established his own company in 1997. Randall has particular experience providing input on market potentials, financial feasibility, fiscal impacts, and community benefits as part of comprehensive planning efforts. He has particular experience in determining the fiscal impacts of various land uses on municipal budgets, which provides invaluable input to land use, zoning, economic development, and other components of the comprehensive plan. He has worked on a broad range of commercial, industrial, and housing market assessments to inform the planning process, better integrate uses, manage growth, and to help preserve natural heritage or build exciting urban communities. His experience working with both private developers and local governments, and as part of teams with planning consultants, has provided him with well-rounded perspectives on planning issues and economic development.
Lee Jones – Principal
Common Ground Urban Design + Planning
Lee Jones is licensed landscape architect who brings fifteen years of professional experience in urban design, planning, and landscape design to Common Ground Urban Design + Planning. Prior to receiving a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University, Lee initially earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, providing him with a versatile set of skills to think critically about public policies and their consequences. These skills have enabled him to write effective form-based codes for developers and municipalities, as well as assist clients through cumbersome and lengthy processes and ordinances. With a background in Landscape Architecture, one of Lee’s key strengths is his ability to inventory and analyze physical site characteristics that may influence site design, whether properties consist of hundreds of acres or hundreds of square feet. Prior to joining Common Ground Urban Design + Planning in late 2006, Lee spent five years with the Metro Nashville Planning Department serving as director of the department’s Urban Design Studio in his final year. While with the Planning Department, Lee drafted amendments to Metro’s Zoning Code, and solved urban design problems through leading public-participatory charrettes and writing form-based codes. Since joining Common Ground Urban Design + Planning as a principal in 2006, Lee has led the design for dozens of plans ranging from greenfield development to downtown revitalization.
Keith Covington, AIA, CNU – Principal
Keith Covington is a registered architect who brings over twenty years of professional experience in architecture, urban design, and land planning to Common Ground Urban Design + Planning. Keith earned his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Tennessee and his Masters of Architecture in New Urbanism at Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk’s program at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. As a graduate of these programs, Keith has a unique understanding of traditional patterns of urban design from the regional scale down to the scale of the building. Keith applies time-tested principles of urbanism to all of his projects to achieve a true sense of community in neighborhoods, districts, towns and cities. While he is an accomplished architect whose work has been published in Southern Living Magazine, Keith’s primary focus is to create walkable environments that balance the needs of the pedestrian with those of the automobile. He has lectured extensively on this subject across the country. Prior to forming Common Ground Urban Design + Planning, Keith was the director of the Metro Nashville Planning Department’s Urban Design Studio where he helped reinvent Nashville’s approach to planning and coding. Keith Covington founded Common Ground Urban Design + Planning in 2006 and since then, Common Ground Urban Design + Planning has completed dozens of projects in eighteen states across the U.S.