Ensite Ensite Ensite

what we do

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sustainable1.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sustainable1-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sustainable2.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sustainable2-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sustainable3.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Sustainable3-BW.png

sustainable

We seek innovative design solutions which provide a balance of environmental sensitivity, social equity, and economic viability. We are committed to creating sustainable places that meet today’s needs, while being conscious of how we will live tomorrow . We don’t give lip service to sustainability – we live this in our office, in our homes, and in our practice.

  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-1.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-1-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-2.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-2-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-3.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-3-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-4.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-4-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-5.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Creative-5-BW.png

creative

We believe everyone has something to offer. Our firm is based on a flat organizational structure, providing opportunity for all of our staff to be involved in decision-making processes. We find this enhances the design process and results in a superior final product.

  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Design-1.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Design-1-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Design-2.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Design-2-BW.png
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Design-3.png /wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Design-3-BW.png

design

EnSite, Inc. is a leading Florida based design firm. Our services include Planning, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Urban Design, Sustainability, and Graphic Design. Our team is committed to the long-term success of the communities in which we live, work, learn, and play.

our portfolio

#enrichment

"Our job is to make sure that even as we make progress, that we are also giving people a sense of hope and vision for the future." - Barack Obama

 Make like a tree, and breathe

 Make like a tree, and breathe

close

 Make like a tree, and breathe

Never let anyone tell you 1% isn't a big number. Consider a 2014 study by the U.S. Forest Service. For the first time, an estimate was produced to illustrate the cumulative air pollution removal effect by trees all across the country. What an undertaking! The Northern Research Station, which performed the study, reported, "While trees’ pollution removal equated to an average air quality improvement of less than 1 percent, the impacts of that improvement are substantial." Let's bring this to a human scale:

Lives saved annually = 850

That's a lot of folks who matter to other folks. Aside from allowing those folks to remain among the living, the 1% effect also greatly enhances the quality of their lives:

Incidences of acute respiratory symptoms prevented annually = 670,000

The study was unprecedented in its scope to directly correlate tree's air pollution removal effect nationally with better outcomes for health. A couple years before, a study was performed by the same organization - another first - to find such a correlation on a city-scale level. The result: "urban trees and forests are saving an average of one life every year per city. In New York City, trees save an average of eight lives every year." Wow!

Take a deep breath. Now thank a tree. And how about doing something to increase the number of trees in your community? Plant a tree! The life you save could be your own.

 Care of Florida's environment begins at home

 Care of Florida's environment begins at home

close

 Care of Florida's environment begins at home

Waterways woes continue to dominate the news in Southwest Florida. The problem is so big, what can any one of us do to make a difference? The good news is there is one thing we can do. And the more of us who do, the bigger the impact. So what is this one thing? Make your yard beautiful! Let's qualify that: Make your yard Florida-beautiful. That means applying some basic principles in your landscape that will improve the health of the environment while your outdoor space reflects your personality.

The best part is there's plenty of help to get you on your way toward Florida-beautiful landscaping. A great place to start is the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Homeowner Program. It's brought to you by the experts at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services. As they put it, "The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Homeowner program educates homeowners about how to design, install, and maintain healthy landscapes that use a minimum of water, fertilizer, and pesticides. The result? Low-cost, low-maintenance, attractive landscapes that add value to your community and reduce the chance of polluting the water supply."

At this link, you will find free resources to download, including the FY&N Handbook, which is arranged in informative chapters around the 9 core principles of Florida-friendly landscapes:

  1. Choose the right plant for the right place
  2. Water efficiently
  3. Fertilize appropriately
  4. Mulch
  5. Attract wildlife
  6. Manage yard pests responsibly
  7. Recycle yard waste
  8. Reduce stormwater runoff
  9. Protect the waterfront

It's really pretty simple, when you break it down to these basics. Wouldn't it be fun to be the envy of the neighborhood? You can even work toward earning gold or silver Florida-Friendly Landscaping status, with a sign to prove it. Be a trendsetter! This is one trend that's very sustainable indeed.

 Get muddy this weekend for some good clean fun

 Get muddy this weekend for some good clean fun

close

 Get muddy this weekend for some good clean fun

Here's a good post for the weekend, because it's all about play. You know we're big proponents of outdoor play and learning. And sometimes there's no substitute for getting dirty.

Do you remember making mud pies as a kid? Something may have happened between then and now, as evidenced by the steady stream of commercials for disinfecting wipes and sprays, antibacterial potions and corporate messaging that tells you, "You will never be able to get your kids' environment clean enough - try harder!" The hysteria's died down somewhat. Research shows that kids who grow up with all kinds of animals tend to be healthier adults. The human biome is also having a moment in modern science.

Aside from all that, kids these days tend to be looking down - not at the earth below them, but at their electronic gadget of choice.

So when we heard about International Mud Day, we wondered, "Why weren't we invited?" The fact is, we were. And so were you. There's still time to celebrate. We noticed Child Care of Southwest Florida posted several fun followup activities to International Mud Day. As we continue on through the rainy season here, it's a great time to try these with your kids. For some good clean fun and togetherness, try getting some mud on you this weekend. Looks like these families in Australia would recommend it:

 Hostile design and social control

 Hostile design and social control

close

 Hostile design and social control

Everywhere you go, you're being manipulated. Sound paranoid? Well, it's true.

We like to talk about design, planning and landscape architecture that enhances the aesthetics of a place while encouraging the flow of human activity in a gentle fashion to achieve greater connectivity, efficiency and sustainability. Attractive forest trails and bike paths keep people moving, for instance. Urban green spaces invite people to congregate in a particular area, while keeping other spaces clear of traffic.

All design is a direct way to communicate with people and manipulate them to some degree. There's one kind of design that says "Stop!" and "Go away!" It's not the kind of stuff we deal in, but it's important to know it when we see it. When we become more astute observers of our environment, we can recognize "hostile architecture" as a tool for social control. That's why Gordan Savičić and Selena Savić put together the book called "Unpleasant Design," which will be released as a digital-only second edition on July 29.

The authors define the phenomenon this way: "Unpleasant design is a global fashion with many examples to be found across cities worldwide, manifested in the form of 'silent agents' that take care of behaviour in public space, without the explicit presence of authorities." A most severe example of unpleasant design would be metal spikes installed outside businesses to discourage homeless people from lying down.

But the elements can be more subtle, and largely unrecognized for their purpose to the casual observer. They can be physical, but don't have to be. Yellow light in bus stations make it harder for IV drug users to see a vein. Chinese businesses use the melodious air of a Kenny G tune to tell people to go home. Park benches can be designed with anti-skateboard features.

Look around. How much of the design you see says "Go ahead," "Enjoy" and "This way?" How much of it says "Don't even think about, pal?" Read "Unpleasant Design," and you'll see how many"silent agents" are really talking.

 Temporal infill - multi-use development by the hour

 Temporal infill - multi-use development by the hour

close

 Temporal infill - multi-use development by the hour

In urban environments where space is at a premium, planners look to underused buildings and the spaces between them to explore adding function to existing form. That works in 3-D. But what if we add time as a fourth dimension in the built environment?

Co-locating retail and office spaces next door from each other or residential and retail on separate floors are examples of multi-use development. When we identify underused space between existing structures and appropriate them for a specific use, we call that infill development. Employing the two perspectives in tandem allows us to create efficient places that capitalize on density and connectivity to best serve the needs of the people, and with the least impact on infrastructure, public resources and the environment.

Consider the possibilities if we were to take existing places and explore how to better occupy gaps in usage as they occur according to the clock. We caught a story on today's Marketplace Morning Report about an entrepreneur whose creative thinking led him to develop not new real estate, but new uses for places that are vacant on a cyclical basis. Preston Pesek's company Spacious provides coworking spaces inside restaurants when they're closed for lunch. Now that's thinking with your noodle. Restauranteurs will benefit froma new revenue stream, and those who work out of their laptop will find a place to set it down. How's that for a shift?

Planners and designers like to say, "The greenest building is the one that already exists." Maybe an even greener one is a time of day.

Human scale of the possible

Human scale of the possible

close

Human scale of the possible

Perhaps no man is an island, but when he lives on an island that's disappearing, one man can make all the difference.

Jadav Payeng is one man who has single-handed slowed the erosion of his island by planting trees on a sandbar in the Brahmaputra River, turning it into a forest reserve. He's been doing it since 1979, and is officially known as India's "Forest Man." This touching short film by the same name tells Payeng's story from the perspective of his friend, photographer Jitu Kalita.

That one person can stall and even reverse the effects created by many is an important inspiration in an uncertain world. This may be the most uplifting 16 minutes you'll see today.

Alliance for the Arts kicks off the dream

Alliance for the Arts kicks off the dream

close

Alliance for the Arts kicks off the dream

"Dream with me. Let's talk about vision. Let's talk about spaces." Remember when the Alliance for the Arts threw a big party for its 40th birthday? That was last year, when Executive Director Lydia Black spoke those words to a packed, enthusiastic house. A vibrant new logo and a "footprint for the future" were unveiled to usher in the next 40 years and beyond. Well, the future starts now! That's because with a boatload of community support, phase one of the Alliance's campus enrichment plan is (almost) in full effect. All that's needed is an additional $50k.Alliance-Conceptual-Campus-Plan-Phase-1-Highlight-4-28-16a-399x600 About phase one: Phase One of the campus enrichment project which focuses on the beautification of 2.2 acres along McGregor Boulevard, transforming the gateway into the City of Fort Myers into a pedestrian-friendly space for the entire community. This phase includes the installation of an eight-foot sidewalk, landscaping, irrigation, gardens, a significant placement/public art project, new signage and pedestrian friendly intersections. EnSite is proud to have participated in the visioning process and produced the conceptual plans for the campus enrichment process. The future is in your hands!
Become a partner in education

Become a partner in education

close

Become a partner in education

No matter how good the schools are where you live, there comes a point of diminishing returns when the community doesn't get involved with keeping them strong, making them better and keeping up with the demands of the times. There are a lot of community causes we're involved with at EnSite, but none is more near and dear to us than education. Several of us personally mentor kids one-on-one. As a company, we have provided our expertise in projects like the outdoor classroom at Tanglewood Elementary and many more. This is all just to say that no matter what kind of business you're in, or what kind of talents you have as an individual, there are bound to be lots of ways to get involved with your local school district, increase the education level of your community and cultivate a robust workforce and economy. We were thrilled to be awarded as one of two 2016 Business Partner of the Year award recipients by the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. If you'd like to read more about why we were chosen for this tremendous honor, you can check out this link. But giving is its own reward, and for us at EnSite, no giving is more rewarding than that which benefits education. It's giving that gives back for life! Now, how can YOU go out and make life better? You probably have more to give than you think.
Making it right - recreating wetlands

Making it right - recreating wetlands

close

Making it right - recreating wetlands

Musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron said, “Man is a complex being; he makes deserts bloom – and lakes die.”  It's true that in the name of progress, people have wrought a terrible toll on the natural world. Florida has always served as an unmatched crucible in this regard. You might not be standing on solid ground at this moment if it weren't for those early captains of industry who thought it a very good idea indeed to just go ahead and start draining the Everglades. Human beings have as their legacy a lot of short-sighted meddling in natural systems that benefit our existence in ways we don't fully appreciate. We also have as our legacy rare voices in the wilderness that would serve to reveal our folly, if we could just stop for a minute and listen. For all our anti-heroes, we have heroes ranging from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Carl Hiaasen. Ford Street Preserve filter Marsh 1 At a certain point, wisdom that's ahead of its time starts to become common knowledge. We can't go back in time, but we can take the lessons of the past and try to make the future a little better. We're proud that the City of Fort Myers will be recognized by the Florida Stormwater Association this month for its Ford Street Preserve Filter March project. EnSite was honored to provided this landscaping for this "recreated wetland," complete with native Florida plants including cypress, buttonwood and leatherfern. Fast forward a couple of decades, and maybe it will resemble the land as it once was. There is no substitute for the wisdom of nature, but we welcome any opportunity to apply the lessons of the past, and try to make things if not right, then better. Read more about the project and award at this link. Ford Street Preserve filter marsh
A moment frozen in time - the National World War 1 Memorial

A moment frozen in time - the National World War 1 Memorial

close

A moment frozen in time - the National World War 1 Memorial

The last living World War I veteran died four years ago at the age of 110. Florence Green is one name among the more than 65 million individuals estimated to have participated in some capacity in "The Great War." According to some estimates, more than 8 million soldiers died, with more than 20 million wounded. These staggering numbers are good for perspective on size and scope (consider also the more than 6 million civilian casualties), but terrible for portraying the existential toll on individuals, families, communities and nations. The numbers will never tell you anything about spectacular acts of bravery or simple kindnesses that may have lit a vast darkness like a candle flame. The numbers alone will not help us come to terms with history, or keep us from being condemned to repeat it. That's why we need memorials. In January of 2016, the American World War One Centennial Commission announced that the team led by Chicago architect Joseph Weishaar (only 25 years old!) and New York sculptor Sabin Howard had submitted the winning design for the National World War 1 Memorial in Washington, D.C. The hopes are it will only take two years to build it - that's the amount of time the U.S. spent engaged in the war - to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the armistice to end the war in 1918. The-Weight-Of-Sacrifice-presspacket-aerial The proposed design's intelligent use of space, landscape architecture, public connectivity and storytelling made an impression on the commission, which chose "The Weight of Sacrifice" as the memorial befitting such a consequential process of remembrance. As we approach a Memorial Day weekend, we invite you to visit the commission's website, read the very engaging jury report, see the beautiful artist's renderings, learn how to donate toward the completion of the project (with a limited time matching funds opportunity) and read the full narrative to introduce the project, an excerpt of which is below. Have a safe holiday weekend, and spend some time to reflect on "The Weight of Sacrifice." Now get ready for some serious goosebumps: This is a moment frozen in time, captured in the darkened bronze form which has emerged from the soil to serve as a reminder of our actions. Along the North and South faces we see the emblazoned words of a generation gone by. 137 feet long, these walls gradually slip into the earth drawing their wisdom with them. Around the sculpted faces of the monument the remembrance unfolds. Each cubic foot of the memorial represents an American soldier lost in the war; 116,516 in all. Upon this unified mass spreads a verdant lawn. This is a space for freedom built upon the great weight of sacrifice. JW WW1 Perspective2
On McGregor Blvd slow down and see the sights

On McGregor Blvd slow down and see the sights

close

On McGregor Blvd slow down and see the sights

It was Ferris Bueller who said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Here at EnSite, we can all use that reminder. We're sure many in Southwest Florida are in the same boat - or more likely in your car zipping around between appointments, working on new projects, ferrying the kids to their activities, meeting new people. When you're in go-go-go mode, driving a familiar route, it can sometimes take a while to notice something new.

We have heard from a few folks who knew about our involvement in the McGregor Boulevard Veterinarian Clinic project that they just recently noticed the beautiful new sign that's gone up in front of the building. It's been a couple of months, but we'll refer back to Ferris' sage observation - life moves pretty fast. Here's the clinic's FB post about the new sign, which was designed by our own Matt Horton. Our team members are talented in so many different ways!

EnSite provided all the planning, landscape architecture and site engineering for the project. The rezoning of the property was especially unique because this was the first project to be reviewed and approved using Lee County’s recently adopted Compact Communities Planned Development (CCPD) zoning code. This is a form-based code that emphasizes mixed-use and compact development, rather than a separation of uses with the large setbacks that contribute to sprawl.

It seems like a long time ago. If it took the clinic a year and half to put out the sign, it's only because life moves pretty fast when you have a lot of furry friends to take care of. We appreciate all they do, and are proud to have helped give them an ideal space for them to best serve their patients. So as summer brings its swelter, let's see if we can slow down a little so we don't miss anything life has to show us.

McGregor vet concept

 Trash collection in Taiwan is music to the ears

 Trash collection in Taiwan is music to the ears

close

 Trash collection in Taiwan is music to the ears

Visitors to Taiwan delight in vibrant food, history, culture and the magnificent beauty of its unspoiled countryside. In addition, the cities offer some of the cleanest streets of any developed country in either hemisphere. It wasn't always so - as we learned from a a very interesting podcast.

99 Percent Invisible began as a collaboration between KALW Public Radio and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. According to the people involved, "99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world." Right up our alley! And as it turns out, the garbage in cities like Taipei, Taiwan's capital, once piled up in all the alleys.

As part of its democratization and tourism-attraction efforts, Taiwan devised a system of garbage collection that in many ways is opposite to the American model. Citizens are responsible for bringing their own garbage to the street and depositing it directly into the truck. The trucks alert the citizens to their imminent arrival with the use of music, much like you'd expect from an ice cream truck. More than that, recycling and composting are meaningfully incentivized. Check out the "Separation Anxiety" podcast from 99 Percent Invisible to find out exactly how it works.

And here's a video of the citizens of Taipei taking out their trash. As alien as it seems to Americans, we wonder what wisdom we can still take away from this approach.

 
 FutureMakers blitz the News-Press

 FutureMakers blitz the News-Press

close

 FutureMakers blitz the News-Press

Readers who opened their Fort Myers News-Press last Sunday were met with a deluge of passionate opinion. Given, that's not different from most Sundays. But instead of the armchair prognosticating about the presidential election and all manner of the usual hot button-issue one-upsmanship, subscribers who opened up the Views section were witness to a coordinated patchwork of eight separate op-ed pieces. Each written by a Southwest Florida leader or business builder, these viewpoints focused on a specific area of thought for achieving a better future for our community and our children. Pretty heady stuff, eh?

Specifically, each piece espoused a tenet of the FutureMakers Coalition. A brainchild of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, FutureMakers has the goal of increasing the rate of post-secondary degrees or certificates in the region. Right now it's pretty low. And by focusing on that one goal, the future looks pretty amazing. But don't take this blog's word for it - get it right from some of the FutureMakers, who met as a team with the News-Press' editorial board. The board thought it was worthy of dedicating all those column inches to the future.

Sarah Owen kicks the whole thing off at this link. And our own Jon Romine adds to the chorus of voices with his passion for coalition building here. To the future!

Like Jedi Knights, urban planning has a dark side

Like Jedi Knights, urban planning has a dark side

close

Like Jedi Knights, urban planning has a dark side

Just like the Jedi Knights in Star Wars, urban planners can choose to come to the dark side or the light side.

We can envision a Darth Vader in the person of New York's Robert Moses (1888 -1981), although that appraisal is rather facile. He's the polarizing figure known as the last century's "Master Builder." We have the Titan of the Skyline to thank for the splendor of the United Nations building, among many other iconic achievements. As the New York Sun reported, our experience of the Big Apple has been shaped most significantly by the singular drive of Moses, who “built 13 bridges, 416 miles of parkways, 658 playgrounds, and 150,000 housing units, spending $150 billion in today’s dollars.” His legacy is mixed.

We talk about social equity as a component of sustainability - words Moses wouldn't have known to employ in that order (history is the finest of teachers). Displacement of the poor was part of that mixed legacy. As was the cruel bifurcation of neighborhoods with highways, leading to a fracturing of cohesiveness and a culture of institutionalized socio-economic discrimination. The guy had too much unchecked power, and it probably went to his head. If you love New York, it's inarguable that without Moses, it would be a different kind of New York to love. There are those who argue he liked cars more than people.

Jane Jacobs That's where the yin to that yang comes in, in the person of Jane Jacobs (1916-2006). When threatened by downtown expressways, neighborhoods had a champion in the writer/activist, who helped them fight for their survival. Her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, explores why places work – and why the ill-considered policies that informed the more dubious part of Moses's modus operandi are anathema.

We love the quote in the graphic above, which we dedicate in Jacobs' honor, but also this one: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” That's the community-centered approach that informs the concept of modern Placemaking, which you've seen us reference in past posts.

Legacies are always more complicated than a collection of quotes or a half century of Monday morning quarterbacking in the former of editorial counterpoint. In the end, though, the question remains: what would Yoda do?

The Imaginarium gets Tanked!

The Imaginarium gets Tanked!

close

The Imaginarium gets Tanked!

This is the dawning of the age of aquariums, the age of aquariums...(aquaria?)

You probably know by now that true to our EnRichment initiative, there are several community organizations and service projects we're passionate about, from Cape Coral Hospital's Pathway to Discovery to Tanglewood Elementary's outdoor classroom to the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and even more. As the expertise represented by EnSite's team was cultivated by early STEM learning opportunities, we feel it's important to pay it forward to provide those types of opportunities to the next generation. We will come to rely on them someday - before we know it! - to design communities that are sustainable and that will fulfill the needs of their residents and stakeholders long into the future.

To that end, our own Jon Romine has been serving for a while now as president of the board for the Imaginarium Foundation, serving the interests of the Imaginarium Science Center and Southwest Florida Museum of History. Naturally fundraising is an important function of the foundation, with the Imagine Gala the major function for that function - ha!

[caption id="attachment_845" align="alignnone" width="640"] Wayde and Brett from Tanked unveiling the new U.S.S. Mohawk exhibit![/caption]

With the great support of the community over the years, we are thrilled to be able to expand and improve the programming and exhibits, and eventually enrich the campus of the Imaginarium, which recently became more closely aligned with the SWFL Museum of History.

Here is an exciting development - we're going to be on TV! Tanked, the Animal Planet series that follows builders of aquariums (aquaria?) for the rich and famous was on hand here in Fort Myers just a few days ago. Wayde King and Brett Raymer  built a beautiful new tank containing a replica of the U.S.S. Mohawk, the proud ship that was commissioned in 1935 and intentionally sunk to be an artificial reef off the coast of Fort Myers Beach in 2012. How's that for recycling?

Producers from the show tell us "our" episode will air sometime in June. Tune in, and come on in to the Imaginarium to check it out! Don't forget to say with glee, "You sank my battleship!" And it's all in the name of sustainability and STEM learning for our next generation. There's just something so sweet about that full cycle process.

[caption id="attachment_844" align="aligncenter" width="720"]13012880_498950733639683_6232061774212106513_n Jon Romine, Imaginarium and SWFL Museum of HIstory Director Matt Johnson, Tanked's Wayde King, and the guys from Black Salt catering - winners of the 2016 Imagine Gala Celebrity Chef Cookoff[/caption]
A garden for healing and learning

A garden for healing and learning

close

A garden for healing and learning

There's a saying among those who tend the earth: the sign of a great gardener isn't a green thumb; it's brown knees. Books and YouTube videos are good as a supplement, but there really is no better teacher than experience. And as in many things in life, the mistakes provide better instruction than the successes.

Gardening is its own reward, naturally. It's therapy and exercise, and it gets us in touch with the processes and cycles of the natural world. So wouldn't it make sense that a garden could be an integral part of a healing environment? In assisting Cape Coral Hospital to transform its campus to achieve an Optimal Healing Environment, we planted a seed, in a metaphorical sense. Now Master Gardener Rod Barkley keeps the Teaching Garden growing.

12631372_518728541632999_4670628672349298978_n

Built through a partnership between the Lee County School System, Lee Memorial Health System, the American Heart Association and the State of Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Office, the Teaching Garden provides lessons to local schoolchildren about growing and harvesting produce - and making healthy food choices. You already know how we feel about outdoor learning, and the garden has much to teach about science, math, nutrition, teamwork and environmental stewardship.

The Pathway to Discovery optimal healing environment at Cape Coral Hospital represents a healthy community and the connectivity among patients, caregivers, family and the community. Go take a walk, say hello to Rod and see what's growing. Volunteers are always appreciated - just email rod.barkley@leememorial.org

12573073_518728861632967_8406528125973087028_n

 Art delivers the message of urban planning

 Art delivers the message of urban planning

close

 Art delivers the message of urban planning

To describe the type of work companies like EnSite do as interdisciplinary is a bit of an understatement. We list planning, landscape architecture, urban design, engineering and sustainability as among our core offerings on our website. Such a list inevitably leaves something out. More, it suggests a siloing of disciplines that's antithetical to our actual approach to projects - and our business, as evidenced by our horizontal corporate structure.

Sometimes it's helpful to look to art and social commentary (and art AS social commentary) to interpret the challenges our society faces, and that businesses like ours are charged with overcoming. We recently discovered a good source in Terrain.org. Labeling itself "A journal of the built + natural environments," Terrain presents opinion, interviews, art and literature that serve as odes to the beauty of the natural world and also to the discipline of solving human solutions in a way that softens our footprint. Likewise, the lens of art allows readers to more immediately grasp the eventualities and urgencies inherent in much of our planning policies. Terrain's Unsprawl department provides case studies of redevelopment success stories that result in greater walkability, focus on land stewardship, increase economic viability and reverse inefficiencies resulting from decades of short-minded policy.

There are many blogs dealing with topics of urban renewal, reversal of sprawl, placemaking and the like. We admire Terrain especially for appealing to hearts and minds with the prominent showcasing of art and literature that approach these far-reaching considerations. If a picture (or a poem) is worth a thousand words, it's often more succinct than a 10-second elevator speech at communicating a corporate mission of making life in our communities more fulfilling and sustainable for the time we're here, and for generations to come.

  Give the kids a break - learning happens outside

  Give the kids a break - learning happens outside

close

  Give the kids a break - learning happens outside

What happened to recess? In some places in America it has all but disappeared. In some places, children get a meager 7 minutes of unstructured outside time. We've been fortunate to be involved with projects that promote kids' outdoor learning, such as the Tanglewood Elementary School outdoor classroom. It's a small thing we can do. We as a society have a bigger thing to do - and that is to reclaim the wisdom that much of children's learning happens in play.

Does it matter? Yes it does. Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember how sometimes you just needed to blow off some steam by swinging on a branch? Did you have a streambed to turn over rocks and look for crayfish? Maybe you had a grassy field where you could run around with friends and then stare at the clouds floating by.

A recent viral video has gotten people talking about the merits of going outside. When you were a kid, you didn't need to be told that being outside was good for you. It was natural. Have you heard the term "Nature Deficit Disorder?" The cure lies just on the other side of the door.

A return to the suburbs – compact walkability for all

A return to the suburbs – compact walkability for all

close

A return to the suburbs – compact walkability for all

All this talk about maximizing density, mixed-use infill development, walkability, centralization of services and thoughtful placement of green spaces when it comes to urban development – it’s all about reworking cities to better fit the needs of people. New urbanism (old urbanism?) has become a major buzzword that’s often really about fixing past mistakes. Done well, the approach has community and sustainability built in. But what about people who don’t live in the cities?

If you want to talk about a lack of forethought, one need only look to the suburbs of any major city. And contrary to a popular image of a hipster-driven emphasis on urban redevelopment, we see more and more millennials heading to the ‘burbs. It’s all about price and having space to raise young families. With this generation making up about a third of homebuyers today, it’s time to start applying smart planning and design principles to better accommodate the needs of people who live outside the city center.

Interestingly, the needs of the suburbs will be the focus of this weekend’s Congress for the New Urbanism’s (CNU) council meeting in Miami. Ben Brown over at Placemakers wrote this week that, “While it’s not tough to find folks willing to go full snark on a half century of suburban wrongheadedness, there has always been a core group of urban-focused professionals fretting about where sprawl might be headed and how its impacts might be mitigated to enhance community and connectedness.” At EnSite, we’re proud to be part of that group’s ranks.

With the dedication and perseverance of that core group, and with more municipalities and community stakeholders embracing the concept of compact walkability, it can now be time, as CNU CEO Lynn Richard said “to leverage the momentum from the revival of the city.”

 Sustainability becomes the (beautiful) new normal

 Sustainability becomes the (beautiful) new normal

close

 Sustainability becomes the (beautiful) new normal

In modernist architectural theory, form follows function. This means that the intended purpose of a structure or space should determine what it ultimately looks like. As we and our savvy clients have always known, sustainability is beautiful. If a project is intended to preserve the natural resources of the environment, then shouldn't it follow that natural resources should take center stage?

The American Society of Landscape Architects recently revealed the findings of a survey of its members to identify the projected top ten trends in residential landscape design. We were struck by how each one of the project types in the list either address a specific area of conservation, capitalize on natural resources, employ natural materials or are intended to improve residents' experience of and appreciation for the outdoors.

The ASLA survey predicts that in 2016, the following project types would be most in demand:

  • Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 88%
  • Native plants – 86%
  • Native/adapted drought tolerant plants – 85%
  • Low-maintenance landscapes – 85%
  • Permeable paving – 77%
  • Fire pits/fireplaces – 75%
  • Food/vegetable gardens (including orchards, vineyards, etc.) – 75%
  • Rain gardens – 73%
  • Drip/water-efficient irrigation – 72%
  • Reduced lawn area – 72%

These are some beautiful results! Clients who hire landscape architects are typically ahead of the curve when it comes to integrating "green" elements into a design. We're pleased to know that the trends strongly suggest greater interest in form following sustainable function.

what inspires us

shellie johnson

shellie johnson

close

shellie johnson

The Mother Hen The quality of life that a community has to offer is only as good as what its residents are willing to work for. The people at EnSite make Shellie Johnson excited to come to work everyday. “I work with a fantastic, energetic and creative group that is respectful of one another and most important, likes to have fun,” she said. Working with and taking care of the needs of a small firm is a natural extension of small-town home life for the LaBelle resident. Loose ends are a foreign concept to Shellie, as her focus on details runs deeper than even her credentials from the American Institute of Certified Planners can testify. Shellie is one of EnSite’s owners and in her role as Planning Director, she assists private clients in gaining development entitlements to property. She also assists government jurisdictions with daily planning tasks such as development reviews and regulatory amendments, and with long-range planning projects. When she’s not at work, Shellie volunteers as President of the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corp. The group’s efforts have not only made good on its name, but it has also caused a resurgence in residents’ pride in their community and instilled a sense of ownership in the beautiful historic downtown. She enjoys being part of a small town and contributing her time and energy in preserving its sense of community while creating opportunity to encourage younger generations to stay there and prosper. Shellie is a recent widow who enjoys being close to her three stepchildren. Her three dogs run her life. She likes spending time in the outdoors, hiking, and kayaking. She loves to eat great food.
brent gibson

brent gibson

close

brent gibson

The Solutions Guy Work smarter, not harder. Brent Gibson enjoys the laid-back, open culture and family-like atmosphere of the EnSite office, which he thinks promotes creativity. “Also, everybody has a voice in what happens with the company. Whether you’re the newest employee or one of the owners, your ideas will be heard and considered.” That flat organizational structure also has a way of encouraging folks to reach beyond their job descriptions to do whatever it is that has to be done. As Lead Designer, Brent does most of the civil engineering design. He also oversees production management, and is responsible for scheduling and getting the designs and plans out the door to clients and municipalities. He also serves as the in-house IT guy. The McGregor Veterinarian Clinic is one of many projects that served as a proving ground for Brent’s creative problem-solving skills. While employing low-impact development techniques, the EnSite team met the challenges presented by Lee County’s newly drafted Compact Communities Planned Development zoning code. This code emphasizes mixed-use and compact development, rather than separate uses with the large setbacks often seen in sprawl development. Brent has been married to his wife Emily for 16 years, and the couple has three boys and a girl between eight and 15 years old. He enjoys playing golf and basketball, and coaches youth basketball at the local YMCA. He’s also on the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters and is a mentor in the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools STAMP program. Twitter: @BGib4
brian smith

brian smith

close

brian smith

The Design Doctor Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The Golden Rule was frequently evoked by the single mom who raised Brian Smith and his older sister. Another favorite quote was “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Brian said, “Watching her struggle through life taught me the values of hard work and determination to make a better life for the family. She is certainly my early inspiration and drive to do better and to work hard and value what I have and to cherish family always.” Fortunately, coming to work at EnSite means much more than a paycheck to him. An EnSite owner, Brian values his co-workers, the atmosphere, and the variety of projects the team gets to work on. As Director of Land Design for the company, Brian is responsible for site planning and project management. It’s thrilling to prepare a plan that exceeds the client’s expectations, whether it is a 4,000-acre new community or a .75-acre commercial project requiring innovative design solutions. “Problems” is a word he banishes from his vocabulary. There exist, rather, solvable issues, and the team works with surgical precision to work out solutions to those issues. Few people are aware that Brian’s alternative career path would have led him to being an emergency room doctor. He maintains that laughter is the best medicine, and employs plenty of humor in his work and family life. He and his wife of 15 years, Christy, have two boys, aged 13 and 11. In keeping with his mom’s example, he says, “They are everything to me.” His family enjoys spending time outdoors.
jonathan romine

jonathan romine

close

jonathan romine

The Big Picture Thinker There is no limit to what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit. - John Wooden EnSite owner Jonathan Romine is obsessed with metrics. Aside from hard numbers, he has a major soft spot for people. Every day represents a new opportunity to help someone succeed or empower a whole community of “someones” to make a better future. Of course he pays close attention to the many details of running the business, from finance and investment to R&D and marketing strategy, but it’s the big picture that really matters. By maintaining everything in ship-shape condition, EnSite’s team can consistently deliver optimal results for its clients. His biggest consideration is the company’s culture, which is at the heart of everything EnSite does. On the practice side, Jonathan’s official title is Director of Landscape Architecture, but he describes himself as a “mentorholic.” All staff members are given room to grow their creative talents, develop their leadership skills, and pursue their dreams. Moreover, the organizational structure is horizontal, meaning no one holds a monopoly on good ideas. Jonathan’s passion is making a positive impact on the community in which he lives, works, learns, and plays. Therefore, he’s especially proud of EnSite’s public sector and non-profit projects, such as parks, community planning, redevelopment/infill plans, and arts and cultural institutions. Jonathan has a daughter, Ava, with wife Megan. He loves sports and travel, and supporting these community organizations: The Imaginarium Science Center (current President of the Board), The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools (Board Member and Mentor), Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce (Board Member), Rotary Club of Fort Myers South. Twitter: @rominejl
matt horton

matt horton

close

matt horton

The Boundary Pusher It’s in the doing that the idea comes. Like every team member at EnSite, Matt Horton enjoys the horizontal structure, which affords him the opportunity to work in the trenches, where the best ideas come from. Top-down organizations often suffer some delusion when they think innovation can come from the ivory tower. As Director of Urban Design, Matt has been able to push boundaries and enjoy the freedom to develop innovative solutions. Every EnSite project is special, but a particularly gratifying one is Gardner’s Park in downtown Fort Myers. “This was probably the most fun of my career, because the owners and residents were very enthusiastic and helpful throughout the project,” he said. Starting out as a guava farm in the 1800s, Gardner’s Park is a lively district featuring community events, galleries, boutiques, cafés, theater, and attractions such as The Burroughs Home & Gardens, The Butterfly Estates, and the Langford-Kingston Historic Home. When he’s not leading EnSite’s urban design activities, Matt is doing the important work of being a dad to his two sons, ages eight and nine. Beyond those two jobs, he finds there are even more boundaries to push: having completed the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in Sarasota after losing a bet, he was hooked and has been training and competing ever since. He’s done three Ironmans, but not the big one in Hawaii…yet.

what makes us awesome

"All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions." - George Bernard Shaw

2012 Horizon Council General Business Award

2012 Horizon Council General Business Award

Watch Video

2012 Gulfshore Business 40 under 40 Award - Jonathan Romine

2012 Gulfshore Business 40 under 40 Award - Jonathan Romine

2012 Florida Commissioner of Education Business Recognition Award

2012 Florida Commissioner of Education Business Recognition Award

2012 Chrysalis Award for Sustainability

2012 Chrysalis Award for Sustainability

Watch Video

2012 Lee County School District Business Partner of the Year

2012 Lee County School District Business Partner of the Year

2010 Blue Chip Finalist

2010 Blue Chip Finalist

2010 Creating Better Places Design Competition - First Place Overall

2010 Creating Better Places Design Competition - First Place Overall

why ensite

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." – Henry Ford

EnSite, Inc. has been passionate about improving the Southwest Florida community since it was founded in 2005. The firm is focused on sustainable design that engages and inspires. It achieves its award-winning results through a fanatical commitment to communication plus its unique combination of creativity, technical expertise, project management efficiency, and intelligent teamwork. We believe that any company’s ability to deliver results that exceed expectations is a necessary function of its organizational culture. EnSite’s culture, which is at the heart of everything we do, strongly emphasizes empowerment and accountability, collaboration, innovation, and a meaningful investment in the communities where we live, work, learn, and play. It’s a privilege to offer our services, which enhance the quality of life of the place we call home, including land planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering, and urban design. Every client receives focused personal attention by working directly with a principal of the firm, while EnSite’s collaborative team structure increases design efficiency and promotes creative problem-solving and creativity, leading to well managed projects and, most importantly, customer satisfaction. EnSite’s unique business model enables our clients to enjoy the talent, assets and results of a large firm, but with competitive fees and top-notch personalized service. Our principals possess great communication skills and are intimately involved in every project from start to finish—they personally plan, design, permit, inspect, and certify every single one. Our community engagement doesn’t end with our many projects. EnSite’s team members are engaged in many service organizations and projects outside of work. And as a team, we reach out to local schools, universities, municipalities, and organizations through our EnRichment program to educate students of all ages and establish relationships and civic engagement to further enhance the experience of living in Southwest Florida.

find us

EnSite, Inc.

2401 First Street
Suite 201
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Send a message

Name Please enter your Name
Email Please enter a valid Email
Message Please enter your Message
Ensite
Ensite
  • This has already crowdfunded over $30,000 to begin 3D-printing and testing habitat prototypes in the Mojave Desert. https://t.co/lwF1PktEpQ |

239.226.0024