Marketing Case Study: Iowa’s First Urbanism Development

By Jessica Johnson Prairie Trail is one of the first communities in Iowa to embrace the concept of New Urbanism development, which cultivates with diverse and distinctive homes, neighborhood stores, offices, schools and parks. This walkable development boasts more sidewalks and trails to connect it to the City of Ankeny. At

DRA-SiteCloseup1Prairie Trail is one of the first communities in Iowa to embrace the concept of New Urbanism development, which cultivates with diverse and distinctive homes, neighborhood stores, offices, schools and parks. This walkable development boasts more sidewalks and trails to connect it to the City of Ankeny. At 1,031 acres, this planned urbanism community is built on the tradition of Iowa’s great neighborhoods.

The first steps for the Prairie Trail project in Ankeny was awarded to D.R.A. in 2005. Looking to showcase this property D.R.A. looked to QA Graphics to provide a full-design solution, enhancing the visibility of The District, which will be used for multiple marketing and presentation opportunities.

Using 3D design will enable potential residents to view the property with photo-realistic views to aid in the decision-making process and on-site selection for potential build site. To build the tool, existing assets from the development process were used, including Revit files, aerial maps and civil design topography. The final product will allow anyone wanting to see The District in an accurate 3D perspective including business and potential growth of the development.

There are several ways a plan such as this could benefit a property.

Site Map

Several different types of site maps were created, for the project depending on the various marketing needs. Companies can use images like this for a variety of areas such as: showcasing to potential clients the area, helping the residents view the potential district for public voting on bond referendum for future public facilities, or marketing and sales materials, to name a few.

Exterior Renderings

QA Graphics worked with D.R.A. and their architectural firm to provide photo-realistic 3D exterior perspective renderings of over 120,000 square feet of the prime retail/office space. The local architecture firms provided Revit wireframe models which allowed QA Graphics to model them accurately with a higher amount of detail. Giving the site map even more of a dynamic look and feel, just as if you were viewing Prairie Trail in person.

Fly Through Video 

Fly through videos are creating a virtual environment. Their purpose of being created is to market a property development to secure future tenants or showing the public future proposed public buildings. A fly through of The District was a key option that D.R.A. wanted to be developed for these exact purposes. Bringing the development to life to help sell the vision for this first of its kind neighborhood.

These materials can be easily created into a general fly through video of The District or a 360° panoramic view to use in presentations as the graphics are already in place.  Graphic enhancements like these will truly aid customers who are unable to visit the physical site to have an excellent experience of the site and feel of the area.

Floor Plans

3D renderings of specific building floor plans can be provided based on residents’ needs. This provides a realistic look at what their building and space might look like. For our project, the client provided the construction document of the buildings to create the detailed information for the project, as this is a quick process for QA Graphics to complete.

Future Capabilities

Future options QA Graphics can provide for projects like DRA includes a digital kiosk.  This is a customizable option that can work with the sitemap and assets already created.  The kiosk can host interior fly throughs to showcase tenant’s use of space, acting as stopping points along the site map. 

HVAC graphics such as floor plans and site maps can even be created to assist Facility Managers with utility locations such as storm sewer, lighting, ductwork, etc. Creating a holistic view that ensures all items associated with your facility are cohesive and well maintained.

These are several options that numerous clients are taking to bring their materials to the next step. For an area like The District and many commercial building locations, options like mentioned above can bring life to the site and market the neighborhood.

The process of creating a 3D image is complex and requires a lot of skills and decisions to be made. Many details need to be adjusted in making an object appear realistic, allowing you to quickly see the power of 3D. The listed service above are all ones that will benefits all those involved in any stage of a properties development.

Jessica Johnson graduated with a degree in marketing in 2013 from Iowa State University. Johnson’s has built experience in the areas of sports marketing, non-profit and for-profit work, which includes working at QA Graphics where we deliver high quality custom graphics for a variety of needs and clients.