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Why do we build?

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

Questions like this may seem to have obvious answers initially, but a deeper reflection on this question challenges us to consider our true motivations, aspirations, and goals.


A good answer to this question is we build to facilitate exchange with one another. This includes economic exchange of course, but also education, social interaction, cultural connectivity, family support, protection, compassion, and more. The list of how we benefit from exchange with one another is long.


Through most of human history the primary goal of building has been maximizing exchange while minimizing the travel needed to do it. If this kind of building can also be done beautifully, we have the makings of a special place that will serve us well for centuries.


Recently a team of inspirational planners gathered in Fort Collins to refine the town center portion of the Montava Master Plan developed by DPZ. Our mission with Montava has never been about houses alone, but to build a complete community. Our work was focused on increasing the energy, connectivity, flow and beautiful placemaking in the town center that will serve all of Northeast Fort Collins and beyond.


Two of our team members lead this effort: Lew Oliver and Paul Murrain.


Lew Oliver is internationally known as one of the world’s most talented new urbanist architects. His fingerprints are on communities across the world, and prominently in the US in places like Serenbe, Trilith and so many more


Paul Murrain brings a unique perspective to community building honed by town planning across Europe and other parts of the world. Paul’s experience includes the rare opportunity of working for HRH Prince Charles as the Senior Design Director the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment. While Lew’s talents tend more toward architecture and buildings, Paul’s passion is overall town planning, street design and connectivity. The two of them working together is a magical experience.



“It has been a wonderful opportunity to try and find a middle ground between the experience of centuries old beautiful European places and the fact of all the constraints forced onto you by external forces. To find that middle ground, pushing the boundaries as much as we can toward creating a beautiful and wonderful town experience, that has been our goal this week.”


Paul Murrain

London based Urban Designer



Thank you Lew and Paul for your decades long commitment to building wonderful places for people to experience life with each other.





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