Norfolk Architects Develop Tool Kit to Reopen Businesses

Virginia is starting to reopen, but this effort has some small business owners scratching their heads about the practical realities of navigating each phase of the governor’s plan. In an initiative called OpenNorfolk, Work Program Architects (WPA) is teaming with the City of Norfolk and the Downtown Norfolk Council, as well national tactical urbanism leaders at Team Better Block and Yard & Co. to develop a tool kit to help restaurants and small retail businesses reopen safely with increased outdoor space.

From Paris to Milan, from Lima to Seattle, cities are implementing “Stay Healthy Streets,” closed to through-traffic, pop-up bike lanes called “coronapistes,” “Gastro-Safe Zones” to separate walkers from diners, and even maze-like walking routes separated by three-foot hedges.

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Designer Q & A: Thom White, AIA

Contributor: Margaret Hancock

What was your personal path to becoming an architect?

Accounts from my mom say that I wanted to be an architect early on. When visiting Virginia Tech, I fell in love with the architecture school and in my fourth year, had the good fortune of interning in Europe. That internship proved a formative experience for me as I spent six months in Berlin working alongside two Tech grads as they operated their international office.

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