The next generation of residential housing: Bringing new ideas to life

By Mark Nevenhoven and Mike Bechtel

January 10, 2022
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City describes a city as more than just an arrangement of roads, buildings and spaces. The city was a process based on the thought and needs of the citizen, rather than form.
In the final article in our housing series, Partner and Architect Mark Nevenhoven and Principal and Architect Mike Bechtel discuss the future of Des Moines housing by focusing on addressing the needs of the community.


Several years ago, the city of Des Moines began developing Plan DSM: Creating Our Tomorrow,” a comprehensive plan that addressed the future by prioritizing and encouraging developments that connect employment, land use and transportation.

Plan DSM lays out the need to accommodate 51,170 additional housing units in the greater Des Moines area over the next 20 years and considers a variety of options to answer growing demands, specifically focusing on the development of missing middle multi-family residential units in more areas of the city,” according to Plan DSM.

One of Plan DSM’s stated goals is to continue to support the development of downtown as the economic, cultural, and residential core of Des Moines.

The goal includes six key objectives:
  1. Refining downtown zoning districts
  2. Encouraging infill development at strategic downtown sites
  3. Incorporating green building techniques and design into downtown projects
  4. Developing additional housing and amenities for all age groups
  5. Supporting the identification of emerging downtown neighborhoods, and
  6. Ensuring a variety of business, employment, and building densities to develop an engaging downtown.

Realizing these goals will become more complex as additional stakeholders become a part of the design and build process. INVISION often looks to bring the right people to the table to make things happen to benefit our communities.

We look for opportunities to work with builders to go beyond a profit and pivot the focus to improving our communities, our culture, our society or for the humans who are inhabiting those spaces,” Nevenhoven said. How can we help take them to that next level of detail where they say, I’m going to build for this community to enhance it and meet the needs that they have?’”



Eighty-nine years have passed since Wright’s Broadacre City was introduced to the public, and the need for thoughtful architecture to elevate society still exists. Since it was founded over 100 years ago, INVISION continues to ask the tough questions and explore the ideas that help fulfill our goal of enriching lives through architecture.