YARD & Company

Building Blocks + Tools


YARD & Company has the unique ability to uncover demand for extraordinary places on one hand and, with the other, craft design and development strategies that shape the supply of buildings, public spaces and streets.

This two-pronged approach yields extraordinary neighborhoods and districts. A different type of firm requires a different set of tools. Our building blocks and tools are customized around you. We have helped dozens of developers, cities, non-profits, corporations and institutions establish and reach their goal to build amazing places. They range from small, volunteer-based, grassroots efforts to multi-national developers and corporations. Projects range in size from targeted pop-up efforts to billion dollar redevelopments of entire city districts. Regardless of who you are and where you find yourself, we can tailor the below to meet your needs:

Demand Building Blocks

Engagement + Discovery

Every neighborhood has an essential DNA that we document through understanding hard and soft data. The hard data is gained from walking, biking, measuring, and photographing places to supplement information that comes from broader trends, the market, and mapping analysis. The soft data comes from listening to stakeholders on their own turf; leaders, investor partners, entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, and others vested in the growing health and well-being of a place. Our engagement strategies generate a working visual understanding of the physical and social makeup of a place and uses that knowledge to generate essential operating principles for how to approach the neighborhood’s future. Working together, we find the full potential of a place through an energetic, efficient, and iterative design discovery process that vests owners and stakeholders in the development process. We use this process to shape and inform new development and growth to ensure that it is happening with you, not to you.


  • Engagement Kit & Facilitation

  • Tour guides
  • Analysis diagrams and maps
  • Dot-mocracy
  • Survey
  • Case studies
  • Summary of Understanding
  • Neighborhood DNA Books
  • Design Discovery

Activation + Testing

We engage in equal parts planning and prototyping. We work with neighborhood leaders to gain knowledge, establish early concepts based on that knowledge, and test them in the built environment before the ink on the plan is dry. Is there a nook or cranny that could be a public space? Let’s activate it through community-driven and economic programming. Can’t get there from here? Let’s work to test different street and route configurations. Are there entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to invest? Let’s work together to find work-arounds, training, and support to go from popup to permanent. What worked? What did we learn? We take this intelligence, new partnerships, and professional development expertise to refine the Plan. This methodology uncovers new possibilities to improve the Plan, broaden the coalition of support, and create the union between trust and action that allows our community to confidently embrace its future. This methodology was formalized in our 2016 Neighborhood Playbook.


  • Neighborhood Playbook
  • Activation Brief
  • Activation Plan
  • Partner recruitment
  • Public art
  • Program management
  • Tactical infrastructure design


Community OperationS

Once change starts, change management is needed. From city departments and regional development entities to small and big nonprofits our team has experience in creating, structuring, managing and growing organizations that ensure places keep growing once they’ve started. Leadership recruitment, decision making infrastructure and fundraising strategies are just some of the help our team can provide. Too often growth stops before it truly begins. With a smart and strategic community operator in place communities can more easily sustain physical change, while ensuring that the change is reflective of and for the community it serves. Ultimately we believe that the people and organizations responsible for positive change are just as important as the change itself.


  • Operations Brief
  • Operations Plan
  • Organizational Structure
  • Staff recruitment
  • Leadership training
  • Project and design review
  • Fundraising and source spotting
  • Developer and partner recruitment
  • RFQ and RFP writing

Supply Building Blocks

Scenario + Story

Whether you are confident in your program or just at the beginning of figuring it out before closing on the property, our team of designers and strategists can help you test, evaluate, and establish your preferred development options. Our approach goes further than simply determining what can fit between the lines. It bases the site capacity testing in a story about the place, what it links to, its image and character, how it solves problems for project partners, and the strategy for how it gets to market smartly. We are accustomed to doing this simply around a table with the project owners or as part of a collaboration with community partners as part of a structured Design Discovery process that efficiently gets to clear directives for the development as its understanding matures. We work in 3 dimensions and quickly so that no time is wasted in getting to clear answers that are supported by the ownership group, the community, and the market.


  • Development capacity testing
  • Site evaluation and selection
  • Image and character studies
  • Development case studies
  • 3-dimensional modeling
  • Development alternatives
  • Development programming
  • Development partner workshops
  • Design charrettes
  • Back-of-napkin sketches
  • Design Discovery

Master Planning

As development opportunities grow, larger assemblies of land and buildings become available for a new district or neighborhood to take root. This can come in the form of large industrial sites, an obsolete mall or school, post-disaster areas, waterfronts, removed highways, outmoded office parks, or simply areas scarred by earlier urban renewal or demolition. We reimagine these as powerful new opportunities for part or all of a new neighborhood, district, or downtown. We have developed master plans for universities and innovation districts, arts districts, entertainment districts, waterfront districts, mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhoods, urban agricultural districts, and shopping districts that collectively act as a community anchor. In all cases, we work hard to ensure that the new district not only connects to and benefits the broader community but that it is built of the same nuance, DNA, and human scale that defines our most memorable places.


  • Special district master planning

  • Development planning
  • Multi-modal transportation
  • Corridor planning
  • Entitlements and approvals
  • Building typologies
  • Concept architecture
  • Public space and street concepts
  • Look books and project story

Strategic Investment

The work we will do with you will be as action oriented as it is a framework for policy to guide long-term growth. We typically suggest breaking the plan into action items for the next 24 months, 2-5 years, and 5-10 years. Whether you wish to remake your streets again for people, develop a trail network, or determine how and where you are going to bring online real estate development, we have developed numerous Strategic Investment Plans to help clients achieve their goals. We build Work Plans that guide efforts in the months and years that follow and recommend that the Work Plan is annually revisited to document the past year’s successes, recalibrate as necessary based on that success, and establish the game plan for the following year. The Work Plan doesn’t live on someone’s shelf but is “live” in the cloud so that leaders can be accountable to responsibilities and measure progress.


  • Alternatives analysis

  • Neighborhood plans

  • Downtown and district plans

  • Smart Small investments

  • Anchor and catalytic projects

  • Open space and streets plans

  • Smart City strategies

  • Resilience strategies

  • "Phaseology" Work Plan