Acadiana Business

DDA hires first-ever design director

by Patrick Flanagan

Downtown Development Authority CEO Nathan Norris calls his new director of design a "rock star of the design world."

Speaking during Wednesday's lunch meeting of the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation, Downtown Development Authority CEO Nathan Norris announced that he has hired a "rock star of the design world."

DDA's new director of design, a newly created post, is Geoff Dyer. The Calgary-based urban designer most recently worked for PlaceMakers Canada, a sister company to Placemakers LLC in the U.S., the urban design firm Norris co-founded.

Geoff Dyer

Norris says Dyer's decision to come to Lafayette is a testament to the Hub City's potential for being on the cutting edge of the urban design world.

Norris' announcement came during an overview he gave on DDA's top priorities. Speaking at Oakbourne Country Club, Norris said the most immediate of those priorities centers on increasing the number of residents living in the downtown area.

Other priorities, according to Norris, include improvements to the amenity packages listing the benefits of living in downtown, revamping DDA's website, increasing educational outreach efforts, and easing the process for bringing to the downtown district what he calls "value enhancing developments."

Another initiative cited by Norris, which may bring into play DDA's new director of design, involves spreading "creativity everywhere," i.e., transforming the look of everyday municipal fixtures like parking meters, power boxes and fire hydrants into works of art.

The DDA office did not have Dyer's start date.

ABiz will have more on Dyer in an upcoming blog, including an in-depth look at his urban design background and the role he will play at DDA.