What makes a great place to live, work and play? Answering such a challenge is called Placemaking. And there are few good answers in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Strip malls abound. It takes a car to get anywhere. For the City of Mesquite, it’s an urgent challenge. Over the next several years the undeveloped, four-square-mile area along I-20 inside the city will undergo intensive development. Mesquite asked Conbrio to deliver a project, including a two-day workshop to get answers. The city picked Conbrio in part to get a project lead independent of the City’s planning department, elected officials and the D-FW region’s traditional planning and architecture community. Conbrio used Placemaking (in private and not-for-profit sectors, it’s called human centered design or design thinking) to lead the workshop with 27 participants including residents, business owners and landowners. Participants came up with five alternatives. Taken together the alternatives called for building a new, stand-alone community defined by uses, activities and appearances enhanced by social engagement and connections and augmented by favorable density and land use. The area will appeal to people with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, ages and family types. The city council warmly embraced the project’s outcome. City Manager Cliff Keheley achieved the neutrality he was looking for. And city staffers said the outcome exceeded their expectations.