Like many of you, we have clients in both urban and rural settings. With these different settings, our process with each client is based on their unique set of needs, timelines and goals.


From a design perspective, new or retrofitted buildings in urban locations need to fit in with existing structures as well as continue to support the buildings around it – many of which may be the part of or connected to the hospital itself. Urban settings strive to but may struggle to offer opportunities such as street-level amenities, patient drop-off areas and landscaping. Most include designs that include new technologies (such as wireless) as well as green and sustainable solutions.

In many rural settings, look at designing a facility that reflects the surrounding community and culture, facilities can and should utilizes natural resources from the area and meet the needs of the population for miles around. For example, on Minnesota’s NorthShore, you can take advantage of the environment with a rustic log and stone design or more contemporary brick and metal design. Some of the new critical access hospitals and senior care centers have demonstrated this well, including the hospital in Staples and the CuyunaMedicalCenter in Crosby, Minnesota.


In urban settings, there’s often a larger pool of workers and contractors, which makes scheduling much more flexible. You’ll find that urban areas often work on tighter deadlines to limit costly downtime while paying close attention to minimizing care disruptions. Scheduling can be tricky in a tighter campus and city confines.

In rural settings, a limited workforce may mean a construction timeline is slightly longer. Your facility management team should be able to accommodate workers’ availability and the project’s needs to avoid any complications. Also keep in mind the possibility of increased travel costs that frequently occur in out-state projects.


When planning a new campus, building or space, consider working with a development and facility planning company with construction and architectural expertise. They should also have healthcare experience in the area that you’re building and an understanding of the different challenges in a rural or urban setting. Ask them for recommendations on cost-savings and high-efficiency solutions. Also team with them on coordinating project goals and timelines to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly.