A great city doesn’t just happen.
A great city happens by design.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
Program and Operations Manager
Crystal moved to Omaha from Los Angeles four years ago. Fascinated by people and the places they live, she has researched, studied, and evaluated how thriving cities best serve their community. She draws upon her Master of Science degree in Urban Studies and an undergraduate degree in Medical Sociology to advocate for policies and places that improve the quality of life for all.
Prior to her role at Omaha by Design, Crystal worked in community engagement roles both in higher education and the nonprofit sector. Her experience in program development and implementation, community outreach, and nonprofit operations make her a critical part of the Omaha by Design team. Crystal is a member of the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee for the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a volunteer for Restoration Exchange Omaha.
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
Seventy Five North
NuStyle Development Corporation
Leo A. Daly
NP Dodge Real Estate
Founding Director, 2001 - 2015
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.
Deputy Chief of Staff
City of Omaha Economic Development & Development Services
Downtown Omaha Improvement District
City of Omaha Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Property
Community Planning and Urban Design Lead
Brand & Communications Strategist
Emspace + Lovgren
Senior Associate, Team Lead Senior Structural Project Engineer
LEO A DALY Company
Professor of Architecture & Landscape Architecture
Jeffrey L Day, FAIA
University of Nebraska Lincoln
Vice President of Facilities
First National Bank
City of Omaha Urban Planning Department
César A. García
Southside Redevelopment Corporation
Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
Vice President of Grants and Initiatives
Iowa West Foundation
Senior Vice President
Director of Environmental Services
Peter Kiewit Foundation
Baird Holm, L.L.P.
Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture
Omaha Economic Development Corporation
Sales and Leasing Agent
P.J. Morgan Real Estate
Chairman of the Board
Lamp, Rynearson & Associates Inc.
Director of Community Investment
Omaha Community Foundation
Manager of Urban Design and Preservation
City of Omaha
Vice President Public Affairs
Director – Transportation Development
Greater Omaha Chamber
Assistant General Manager
Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District
Robert Peters Company
City of Omaha
Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of Nebraska Medical Center
NP Dodge Real Estate Sales Inc
RDG Planning & Design
Chief Executive Officer
Live Well Omaha
Keep Omaha Beautiful
Public Works Director
City of Omaha
City of Omaha Planning Department
L.B. “Red” Thomas
District 2 Engineer
Nebraska Dept. of Roads
Metropolitan Area Planning Agency
Community Development Director
City of La Vista
Omaha by Design Awards
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.
- Green Slate Development
- Benson Business Improvement District
- Omaha Economic Development Corporation, The Margaret
- Live Well Omaha and the Community Bike Project Omaha – Omaha B-cycle
- Anne Trumble – Stored Potential
- Omaha South High School’s Collin Stadium Project
- Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and Omaha Plaza
- Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Public Library, Metro Area Transit
- First National Bank/Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness Park (inaugural award)
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.
- 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 (inaugural award)
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.get involved