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



Convene, direct and encourage collaboration within the design community.



Educate the community on urban design principles.



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



Encourage engagement with the public in planning and development.


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

-Ancient Greek Oath

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.”


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.


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.


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.


Meet Our Team

Scott Dobbe, AIA

Scott Dobbe, AIA

Executive Director

Scott 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.

Keegan Korf

Keegan Korf

Metro Smart Cities Coordinator

Keegan Korf comes to Omaha by Design with a passion for education, advocacy, and inclusion in the Omaha community. Korf’s background is in both communications and in education. She has served in the past as both a high school English teacher, and most recently an instructional technologist for the Omaha Public Schools. Focused on digital citizenship and privacy, Korf’s background in instructional technology and district leadership contributed to system-wide shifts in technology use across the school district and the state of Nebraska.

Korf is a Nebraska native and has lived the majority of her life in the Omaha-metro community. She is a proud graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s School of Communications having later earned a Master of Arts degree from College of Saint Mary, and finally a Master of Education degree in Leadership and Learning from Midland University. Korf is a graduate of Leadership Omaha Class 40, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Omaha Public Library, and the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Felius Cat Café, Omaha’s first and only non-profit cat café and adoption facility.

“Omaha is my favorite city in the world and I am proud to live and work here,” said Korf, “…but we have work to do. Having worked in both education and technology over the last eight years, I’ve seen some of the most amazing things that Omaha has to offer, but I’ve also seen the inequity of resources and services provided to the people of our community. We can use technology as a powerful tool for good in shaping the future of our city. I am honored to join the team at Omaha by Design and to help make Omaha an even greater community for all.”

Board of Directors


Mike McMeekin

Lamp Rynearson

Vice President/Treasurer

David Levy

Baird Holm


Sandy Parker

Community Volunteer


Doug Bisson

HDR, Inc.


Cydney Franklin

Seventy Five North


Todd Heistand

NuStyle Development Corporation


Adrian Hernandez

Dundee Bank


Steve Jensen

Jensen Consulting


Chris Johnson

Leo A. Daly


Mike Riedmann

NP Dodge Real Estate

Founding Director, 2001 - 2015

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

Deputy Chief of Staff

Kevin Andersen

City of Omaha Economic Development & Development Services

Executive Director

Holly Barrett

Downtown Omaha Improvement District

Community Planning and Urban Design Lead

Doug Bisson

HDR, Inc

Brand & Communications Strategist

Emily Burgess

Emspace + Lovgren


Alexis Bromley

ONE Omaha

Chief Executive Officer

Lauren Cencic

Metro Transit

Project Lead

Manne Cook

Spark CDI

Senior Associate, Team Lead Senior Structural Project Engineer

Ryan Curtis

LEO A DALY Company

Professor of Architecture & Landscape Architecture

Jeffrey L Day, FAIA

University of Nebraska Lincoln

Vice President of Facilities

Brenda Dooley

First National Bank

Planning Director

David Fanslau

City of Omaha Urban Planning Department

Utilities Coordinator

Steve Fanslau


Community Development Director

Bruce Fountain

City of La Vista

Executive Director

César A. García

Canopy South


Barbara Haggart

Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Vice President of Grants and Initiatives

Matthew Henkes

Iowa West Foundation

Senior Vice President

Adrian Hernandez

Dundee Bank

Director of Environmental Services

Kent Holm

Douglas County


Steve Jensen

Jensen Consulting

Acting Director

Jake Lindner

City of Omaha Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Property


Karna Loewenstein

Heartland 2050


David Levy

Baird Holm, L.L.P.


Jay Lund



Megan Lutz

Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture


Michael Maroney

Omaha Economic Development Corporation

Sales and Leasing Agent

Colleen Mason

P.J. Morgan Real Estate

Chairman of the Board

Mike McMeekin

Lamp, Rynearson & Associates Inc.

Director of Community Investment

Anne Meysenburg

Omaha Community Foundation

Landscape Architect

Kayla Meyer


Manager of Urban Design and Preservation

Jed Moulton

City of Omaha

Vice President Public Affairs

Lisa Olson


Director – Transportation Development

Stephen Osberg

Greater Omaha Chamber

Assistant General Manager

Marlin Petermann

Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District


Bob Peters

Robert Peters Company

City Engineer

Todd Pfitzer

City of Omaha

Assistant Professor

Athena Ramos

Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center


Mike Riedmann

NP Dodge Real Estate Sales Inc


Marty Shukert

RDG Planning & Design

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah Sjolie

The Wellbeing Partners


Bill Stott


Executive Director

Chris Stratman

Keep Omaha Beautiful

Public Works Director

Bob Stubbe

City of Omaha


James Thele

City of Omaha Planning Department


L.B. “Red” Thomas

ConAgra Foods


Ken West

DLR Group

District 2 Engineer

Tim Weander

Nebraska Dept. of Roads

Executive Director

Greg Youell

Metropolitan Area Planning Agency

Vice President

Ted Zetzman

Noddle Companies

Omaha by Design Awards

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.


  • 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 & Associates Inc.
  • 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 (inaugural award)

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.


  • UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, Verdis Group (TravelSmart)
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha

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.


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.


  • 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 (inaugural award)

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.


  • Future Forward (New North Makerhood)
  • ABIDE, Lighthouse Project.
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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