Allen Folks, leader of Ascent’s Urban Design + Planning practice, is a registered landscape architect and urban designer with 34 years of experience in urban revitalization and community planning assignments. He has been responsible for a variety of notable assignments during his career, including the preparation of plans for transit-oriented development areas; public and private institutions; reuse of military bases; public open space; and new towns and communities in the United States, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East.
He routinely manages teams of designers, engineers, environmental scientists, and economists to address urban problems with solutions that have a creative vision and are economically feasible. For public-sector agencies and developer-led consortiums, Allen has led community visioning exercises to seek input, define priorities, and reach consensus. He has prepared urban design plans for specific areas or neighborhoods within Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City, as well as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila. In many of those assignments, the focus was on developing a public realm as the organizing framework for private sector investment.
Allen has lectured in the United States and Asia on the benefits of transit-oriented development and livable cities and is often a guest lecturer at the University of California, Davis. He is a member of the American Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Active in ULI for over 20 years, he served as the Sacramento District Council Chair and has been a member on several national product councils, including, most recently, the Transit-Oriented Development Council. He has also participated in more than 15 ULI Advisory Services panels convened to assist cities in solving downtown and neighborhood redevelopment issues. In 2014, Allen was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Temple University, and he was recognized as the ULI Sacramento District’s Member of the Year in 2017.
Allen is currently directing Ascent’s work on the City of Sacramento’s West Broadway Specific Plan and on the Town of Truckee’s General Plan Update and Downtown Specific Plan and EIR, and he is beginning the update to the City of Sunnyvale’s Downtown Specific Plan.