Embrace Design, Embrace Community

Look around you – How often do you really observe the buildings you live in, the streets you walk? Architecture often goes unnoticed and yet continues to shape our lives. Opticos Design, Inc. is an urban design and architecture firm seeking to catalyze social and environmental change by creating solutions in how people live. They design living, thriving communities by leveraging the built environment’s power to shape public spaces and social interactions. 

It’s not the details, but the big picture that interests the architects at Opticos Design. Architecture forms the buildings, public spaces and streets that get us to and from work and encourage us to gather. As Karen Parolek, a principal at Opticos Design, states, it is the disintegration of community ties that leads to many of society’s problems. Neighbors not knowing neighbors is her biggest nightmare. By focusing on how we want to live, Parolek and her associates create buildings that support a healthy, sustainable community.

To reinforce Opticos Design’s already strong commitment to creating social and environmental change, the company sought out B Certification. The certification process was integral in forming a better business. It’s difficult to maintain a triple-bottom line company, especially in the architectural planning industry. By leaning on the B Community for support and using fellow B Corps as models, Opticos Design has managed to continue to improve both the company and our communities. 

The economy’s slow growth has allowed a number of areas to take a step back and do visioning work. Community planning will always be at the heart of this B Corp, which is why any have enlisted Opticos in trying to push the envelope on what it means to be environmentally and socially responsible. One new idea is the “missing middle”. These are the mid-sized communities between big city and sprawling neighborhood, the buildings between skyscrapers and single-family homes, which no longer exist in today’s world of extremes. Looking back at traditional architecture and keeping communities in mind, this design firm is creating the architecture of tomorrow.

Embrace Design, Embrace Community: Better Know Opticos Design, Inc. 

Photo credit: Opticos Design, Inc. Livermore Village


Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

Thanks. I try to be more cognizant of architecture and design.

Tori W.
Past Member 7 years ago

this is a beautiful design and, if representing the type of work they do, they should be very busy for a very long time...unique, community driven design..i'd love to live there....

Jan B.
Jan B7 years ago

Perhaps this is a little off the subject, but it gives me a chance to express a desire for beautifying this country. The one good thing that came of the Johnson administration was Lady Byrd (or was it Bird?) and her campaign to Make America Beautiful. A few of her highway and median strip landscaping ideas continue today. Maybe, just maybe some of the politicians who hide behind their gorgeous estates will venture out to see prettier communities. Please tell me what you think and if you agree, perhaps you can suggest ways to get such a project going.

Mary B.
Mary B7 years ago

I'm all for combining work, living, social gathering spaces, but for a long time, our main work was industrial and manufacturing which does not lend intself well to incorporation into living places because of the noise and polution. Maybe I missed it because I didn't read all the posts but was there anything about the establishment of industrial parks in their design formulas?

Becki Schulz
Becki Schulz7 years ago

Good to hear, props for them if these people are ligit for the longrun. Hope they've seen the doc. End Of Suburbia too

Lim Y.
Lim Y7 years ago


Lim Y.
Lim Y7 years ago


Bon L.
Bon L7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

B J Hayes
B J Ellsworth7 years ago

Thanks 4 the info!

Tana Williams
Tana Williams7 years ago

I have PTSD, there's very little I don't see around me. Having said that, I have always been compulsively curious about the world around me. That includes buildings, open spaces and even the way the sidewalk flows.