A great city happens  by design.

A great city doesn’t just happen.

A great city happens by design.

Our Mission

At Omaha by Design, we contribute to a thriving metro by convening, engaging, educating and advocating for excellence in people-centered urban design and policy.

Our Priorities



Encourage engagement with the public in planning and development.



Advocate for best practices and excellence in urban design and policy. 



Educate the community on urban design principles.



Convene, direct and encourage collaboration within the design community.


“We shall leave this city not less but greater, better and more beautiful than it was left to us.”

-Ancient Greek Oath

Green in the City
Green in the City

Green in the City

Omaha by Design is currently serving as project manager for Green in the City, a national design competition to transform a 70’ x 100’ section of Omaha’s urban core into a model green space. The project, located in the 10th and Pacific block, connects with the new home of the BLUEBARN Theatre.


The Vinton Street Project
The Vinton Street Project

The Vinton Street Project

Omaha by Design and its partners continued to chart progress on the Vinton Street Project—a pilot aimed at encouraging the preservation and economic vitality of Omaha’s historic neighborhoods. Using traditional historic preservation tools and the city’s recently enhanced urban design tools, this project gave property owners more options for preserving the character of the Vinton Street corridor.


Public Art Omaha
Public Art Omaha

Public Art Omaha

Omaha by Design partnered with the Omaha Public Art Commission to develop a website, www.publicartomaha.org, that celebrates the important role public art plays in the civic life of our city. The site includes a searchable database of individual works by location, medium and artist. It also allows users to keep tabs on upcoming announcements, locate temporary installations, take a walking tour and sponsor new projects.


Our Founding
Our Founding

Our Founding

The story of Omaha by Design began in 2001 with five words: vibrant, connected, distinctive, sparkling and fun. In a study commissioned by the Omaha Community Foundation, Omahans identified these descriptors as indicators of future “wants” for their city. This set the stage for Lively Omaha – the precursor to the present-day organization – founded by three forward-thinking community philanthropists and business leaders: Bruce Lauritzen, John Gottschalk and Ken Stinson.


A Master Plan for Urban Design
A Master Plan for Urban Design

A Master Plan for Urban Design

In 2002, Lively Omaha partnered with the City of Omaha to help put together a Master Plan – a comprehensive urban design plan that brought together the local public, private and philanthropic sectors of our city. This Master Plan would act as a model for public policy development in the metro, as well as unify a vision for our community’s future. The development process was dubbed “Omaha by Design.”


Meet Our Team

Maria Brady

Maria Brady

Maria Brady

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Maria Brady is a highly driven development professional. Through her work, she has a deep understanding that city evolvement is a multidisciplinary process, one which harnesses of the power of education, art, infrastructure, community, and advocacy. By connecting Omaha’s history to its present opportunities and challenges, she believes the city can create a more prosperous, equitable future for all.

Maria was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and received her undergraduate degree from USD in Political Science, History, & Art History. She spent much of her undergraduate career living abroad and began her professional career in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is currently pursuing a dual master’s in International Relations and Law at the University of Western Australia.

Corinne Wardian

Corinne Wardian

Corinne Wardian

Director of Operations & Special Events

Corinne Wardian is a mission-driven professional who is passionate about supporting creativity, innovation, and developing spaces to serve her community. She envisions an inclusive, sustainable, and thriving Omaha that we are proud to call home. Corinne believes all people deserve quality design and aesthetic that supports movement and connection throughout the city. She is thrilled to join the team at Omaha by Design to promote people-centered design.

Corinne is a native of Omaha and who graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Art History and International Studies. She started her career at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts before spending a number of years in Boston, MA working at an art & design college followed by a startup accelerator. In 2020, she was fortunate to land a remote role that allowed her to return to Omaha. She is eager to apply her operations background at Omaha by Design.

Selwyn Q. Bachus II

Selwyn Q. Bachus II

Selwyn Q. Bachus II

Design Fellow

Selwyn Q. Bachus II joins Omaha by Design as an architectural designer with the passion to positively affect the city’s urban fabric through advocacy and activation. Selwyn believes that high-quality design and uplifting spaces should be accessible to every citizen, every day. In order to push Omaha towards a protopian future, he believes that the voices of underserved communities need to be heard and documented, then the city must reflect on the role it has played and adapt to best support every Omahan.

Selwyn is a current Master in Architecture student at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a 2019 graduate of the Fay Jones School of Architecture+Design at the University of Arkansas.

Architecture allows him to continue a childhood love of artistic experimentation and expression, while also crafting concrete ideas that can positively affect the built environment and the communities it contains.

Scott Dobbe, AIA

Scott Dobbe, AIA

Scott Dobbe, AIA

Executive Director

Scott Dobbe is an architect with a vision as expansive as the city. He began his career in Chicago as an architectural designer with industry leaders Perkins&Will and HOK. Returning to his home state in 2011, he grew professionally with DLR Group, emerging as the firm’s youngest Regional Design Leader. Following years of association with Omaha by Design, Scott assumed the Executive Director role in 2018.

Scott is a native of Kearney, Nebraska. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska College of Architecture, and his Master of Architecture from Ohio State University. He is a graduate of Leadership Omaha Class 39, past leader of the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council, and Chair of the City of Omaha Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission.

Board of Directors


Adrian Hernandez

Dundee Bank


Cydney Franklin

Seventy Five North


Mike Riedmann

NP Dodge Real Estate


Chris Johnson

Leo A. Daly


Steve Jensen

Jensen Consulting


Todd Heistand

NuStyle Development Corporation


Doug Bisson

HDR, Inc.


Sandy Parker

Community Volunteer

Vice President/Treasurer

David Levy

Baird Holm


Mike McMeekin

Lamp Rynearson

Founding Director, 2001 - 2015

Connie Spellman

Connie Spellman

Connie Spellman

Founding Director

Connie launched and led Omaha by Design as Executive Director for 14 years. She was instrumental in the formulation of the Urban Design Element – the City of Omaha’s first design guidelines – as well as a key figure in driving and implementing a unified vision for the region’s future. Connie’s significant contributions to improving the metro’s livability and vibrancy, alongside her inimitable gift for bringing people together, serve as the foundation of ethics and equity from which we operate today.

Advisory Council

Project Lead

Manne Cook

Spark CDI

Community Development Director

Bruce Fountain

City of La Vista

Vice President

Ted Zetzman

Noddle Companies

Executive Director

Michael Helgerson

Metropolitan Area Planning Agency


Ken West

DLR Group

District 2 Engineer

Tim Weander

Nebraska Dept. of Roads


James Thele

City of Omaha Planning Department

Public Works Director

Bob Stubbe

City of Omaha

Executive Director

Chris Stratman

Keep Omaha Beautiful


Bill Stott


Chief Executive Officer

Sarah Sjolie

The Wellbeing Partners

Chief Executive Officer

Lauren Cencic

Metro Transit


Marty Shukert

RDG Planning & Design


Mike Riedmann

NP Dodge Real Estate Sales Inc

Assistant Professor

Athena Ramos

Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center

City Engineer

Todd Pfitzer

City of Omaha


Bob Peters

Robert Peters Company

Assistant General Manager

Marlin Petermann

Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District

Director – Transportation Development

Stephen Osberg

Greater Omaha Chamber

Vice President Public Affairs

Lisa Olson


Manager of Urban Design and Preservation

Jed Moulton

City of Omaha

Landscape Architect

Kayla Meyer


Director of Community Investment

Anne Meysenburg

Omaha Community Foundation

Chairman of the Board

Mike McMeekin

Lamp, Rynearson & Associates Inc.

Sales and Leasing Agent

Colleen Mason

P.J. Morgan Real Estate


Michael Maroney

Omaha Economic Development Corporation


Megan Lutz

Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture


Jay Lund



Karna Loewenstein

Heartland 2050


Steve Jensen

Jensen Consulting

Director of Environmental Services

Kent Holm

Douglas County

Senior Vice President

Adrian Hernandez

Dundee Bank

Vice President of Grants and Initiatives

Matthew Henkes

Iowa West Foundation


Barbara Haggart

Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Executive Director

César A. García

Canopy South

Utilities Coordinator

Steve Fanslau


Planning Director

David Fanslau

City of Omaha Urban Planning Department

Vice President of Facilities

Brenda Dooley

First National Bank

Professor of Architecture & Landscape Architecture

Jeffrey L Day, FAIA

University of Nebraska Lincoln

Senior Associate, Team Lead Senior Structural Project Engineer

Ryan Curtis

LEO A DALY Company

Brand & Communications Strategist

Emily Burgess

Emspace + Lovgren


Alexis Bromley

ONE Omaha

Community Planning and Urban Design Lead

Doug Bisson

HDR, Inc

Acting Director

Jake Lindner

City of Omaha Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Property

Executive Director

Holly Barrett

Downtown Omaha Improvement District

Deputy Chief of Staff

Kevin Andersen

City of Omaha Economic Development & Development Services


David Levy

Baird Holm, L.L.P.

Omaha by Design Awards

Neighborhood Revitalization Award

Formerly known as the ‘Neighborhood Leaf,’ the Neighborhood Revitalization Award recognizes an individual, group, organization or business for exemplary work in the preservation or enhancement of an Omaha metro neighborhood.


  • PJ Morgan Real Estate & Clarity Development (Little Bohemia)
  • New North Makerhood (Future Forward)
  • ABIDE (Lighthouse Project)
  • Ford Birthsite Neighborhood Association, Hanscom Park Neighborhood Association, Omaha Dog Park Advocates
  • Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Theaster Gates, the Rebuild Foundation
  • Urban Village Development
  • Metcalfe-Harrison Neighborhood Association, Country Club Community Council
  • Omaha’s Community Gardens
  • Deer Park Neighborhood Association, Old Market South Neighborhood Association, Bill Seidler Jr. and Syl Orsi
  • Community Bicycle Shop Omaha
  • Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, Dietz United Methodist Church

Environment and Open Space Award

Formerly known as the ‘Green Leaf,’ the Environment + Open Space Award recognizes an individual, group, organization or business for exemplary work in preserving or enhancing the Omaha metro’s natural setting, park system and open spaces.


  • Sacred Seed Pop-Up
  • City of Omaha Parks & Recreation, City of Omaha Public Works, & Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (South Omaha Trail)
  • City of Council Bluffs (Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park)
  • City of Omaha Departments of Parks and Public Works, Veenstra & Kimm and Big Muddy Workshop (Elmwood Park Diversion Project)
  • City of Omaha Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Property (Hummel Park Restoration)
  • Lauritzen Gardens, Union Pacific, Nebraska Department of Roads
  • Stinson Park
  • City of Omaha Department of Public Works
  • Omaha’s Right-of-Way Gardeners
  • The Gallup Organization
  • Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Community Appearance Award

Formerly known as the ‘Civic Leaf,’ the Community Appearance Award recognizes an individual, group, organization or business for exemplary work in enhancing the Omaha metro’s look and feel, including preservation of the civic characteristics that define its public image and contribute to its appeal.


  • GreenSlate Development 
  • Benson Business Improvement District
  • Omaha Economic Development Corporation (The Margaret)
  • Live Well Omaha & the Community Bike Project Omaha (Omaha B-cycle)
  • Anne Trumble (Stored Potential, Emerging Terrain)
  • Omaha South High School (Collin Stadium Project)
  • Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge & Omaha Plaza
  • Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Public Library, & Metro Area Transit
  • First National Bank (Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness Park)

Access and Mobility Award

The Access and Mobility Award recognizes an individual, group, organization or business for exemplary work in enhancing the ways in which Omahans move about the city and connect with one another.


  • Curt Simon (Former Executive Director, Metro Transit)
  • UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, & Verdis Group (TravelSmart)
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha

The Laurels Award

The Laurels Award

The Laurels Award is Omaha by Design’s highest honor. It recognizes an individual, organization or business for significant contributions to great public spaces in the Omaha metro.


  • The Union for Contemporary Art (Undesign the Redline)
  • Seventy Five North Revitalization Corp.
  • Mike Moylan (Shamrock Development)
  • Connie Spellman & Del Weber
  • Richard Holland
  • NuStyle Development Corporation
  • The Mercer Family
  • Midtown Crossing
  • Mike McMeekin (President, Lamp Rynearson)
  • Jay Noddle (President and CEO, Noddle Companies)
  • Alden Aust
  • Steve Jensen (Planning Director, City of Omaha)
  • Mayor Mike Fahey
  • Gary Gates (President, Omaha Public Power District)
  • Kathleen Jeffries (Former Chair and Member, Omaha Planning Board)
  • Omaha by Design Place Game Facilitators
  • First National Bank (Pioneer Courage Park)
  • City of Omaha Planning Department and Bob Peters (Planning Director)
Get Involved

Get Involved

Cities evolve according to the diverse needs and desires of their citizens. To reach our greatest potential, we need you to participate in shaping the metro’s future. Check out the many ways to join us in building a more vibrant, livable city for all.

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